Leeds edge out 10-man Preston thanks to own goal

Date published: Sunday 20th December 2015 5:25

Marco Silvestri: Goalkeeper starred in win at Elland Road

Marco Silvestri: Goalkeeper starred in win at Elland Road

Simon Grayson’s return to Elland Road ended in defeat as his Preston side were beaten 1-0 by Leeds United after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was sent off.

Pickford’s early departure meant an unexpected debut for Preston’s fourth-choice keeper Matt Hudson who was beaten by a headed own goal from Alan Browne just after the break.

Grayson received a warm welcome from Leeds supporters who remembered his achievement in guiding the club out of League One during his spell in charge.

Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri, outstanding throughout, made three top quality saves in the opening 10 minutes as Grayson’s men went all-out attack.

First the Italian keeper pushed Paul Gallagher’s curling free-kick round the near post. Then Joe Garner played Will Keane through the middle and Silvestri was quick to leave his line and deny the England Under-21 forward a scoring chance.

A minute later Silvestri was in action again, diving full length to his left to turn Garner’s 25-yard shot behind for a corner.

After their hesitant start, Leeds forced a series of corners which were well defended but they should have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.

Liam Bridcutt was allowed to make a long run down the middle and Chris Wood timed his run perfectly to receive his pass. However, the totally unmarked striker shot straight at Pickford.

With 30 minutes gone Preston suffered a controversial blow when Pickford was shown the red card. A long ball out of defence found Wood, and Pickford collided with him just outside the box.

The keeper endured a long lecture from referee Gavin Ward before being sent to the dressing room amid strong protests from his team-mates.

Hudson left the bench and former Liverpool midfielder John Welsh was sacrificed as Preston faced the rest of the match with 10 men.

When the free-kick was eventually taken, Giuseppe Bellusci lifted it just over the bar.

Hudson’s first task was to gather a corner in the congested goalmouth and the youngster, who has been selected in England’s elite goalkeeping camp, proved equal to the task.

However, the second half was less than 30 seconds old when Leeds winger Stuart Dallas crossed from the left and Preston midfielder Browne headed into his own net, giving Hudson no chance.

Browne was substituted in the 55th minute, enabling Neil Kilkenny to make an appearance against his old club.

Leeds should have put rookie Hudson and his nine colleagues under more pressure and they switched to a two-man strike force when Souleymane Doukara replaced midfielder Luke Murphy.

Yet Silvestri had to rescue them with two fine saves from Kilkenny and Marnick Vermijl’s angled header.

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