Sky Bet Championship
Preston North End 1 (Vermijl 27) Leeds United 4 (Roofe 17, Sacko 23, Doukara 31, Hernandez 88)
Leeds United recorded their biggest win of the season by hammering Preston North End at Deepdale, to record a third win on the bounce in the Championship.
The game got off to a fairly even start, Souleymane Doukara’s sliced effort from range in the 15th minute was the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock.
Kemar Roofe then did well on the right wing to win Leeds a free-kick. Stuart Dallas delivered a great ball, Pontus Jansson met it and his looping header was on target and Roofe who won the initial set-piece made sure at the back post to give Leeds the lead.
Callum Robinson then went close for the home side, his effort from range brought a good save out of Leeds goalkeeper Rob Green.
Robinson then turned provider when his cross was met by tall forward Simon Makienok who headed at goal, but once again Green would not be beaten.
United doubled the lead soon after, Hadi Sacko played a brilliant one-two with Kemar Roofe before firing home, causing mass celebrations within the travelling United away end.
However the Whites two goal lead lasted just three minutes, Makienok superbly teed up Marnick Vermijl with his head and the defender smashed home.
Leeds added a third goal just after the 30 minute mark, Souleymane Doukara scored a fine solo goal, collecting the ball on the left wing before dribbling into the box, weaving his way through the Preston defence before firing at goal. His effort made it just over the line to restore United’s two goal cushion.
United almost went further in front on the stroke of half time, Liam Bridcutt gave Roofe an opportunity to strike and score his second goal of the game, but the attacker couldn’t find the target.
Half Time: Preston North End 1-3 Leeds United
In the second half Leeds had Green to thank for keeping United in front, he made a super double save to deny Alan Browne after the troublesome Makienok set up the midfielder.
North End captain Tom Clarke was next to go close for the hosts, his header at the free-kick could only find the side netting.
Preston were reduced to ten men in the 71st minute, former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford, who had only been on the field as a substitute for a matter of minutes was shown a straight red for an apparent stamp on Kyle Bartley.
United went close to going further in front through substitute Pablo Hernandez, he did really well to turn on the edge of the box before getting his shot away, but he couldn’t get the better of Chris Maxwell.
Leeds really took the ascendancy with the extra man, Roofe charged forward before firing at goal from distance, but his effort went just over the bar.
Gaetano Berardi tried to get himself in on the act, he picked up possession in a dangerous area before going for goal, but he fired wide.
Hernandez then wrapped up the victory two minutes from time, combining with fellow substitute Chris Wood, before keeping his cool in the penalty area and slotting home.
Pontus Jansson had a couple of opportunities for United in the dying seconds but couldn’t add a fifth, but Leeds keep up their Play-Off march and are now five points clear of seventh placed Fultham.
Full Time: Preston North End 1-4 Leeds United
Preston: Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Vermijl, Pearson, Browne, Johnson (Doyle 81), Robinson (Beckford 66) Makienok (Hugill 66). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Wright, Spurr, Pringle.
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt, Dallas, Sacko (Hernandez 54), Roofe (Antonsson 85), Doukara (Wood 81). Subs not used: Silvesrti, Cooper, Vieira, Denton.
Booked: Bartley, Phillips (Leeds) Baptiste, Clarke (Preston)
Sent-off: Beckford (Preston)