Leeds United were held to a goalless draw with 10-man Preston North End in a feisty encounter at Elland Road.
Scrappy first half
Preston started the game brightly with Jordan Hugill, who was playing on his three year anniversary of his first appearance for the club, won an early dangerous free kick. Within the first six minutes, North End had Leeds pressed in their own half, failing to deal with the set piece before eventually clearing a corner.
Inside 20 minutes, individual battles began to appear all over the pitch; Hugill and the Whites defender Pontus Jansson being one the fiercest. Leeds started to come into the game with one of the many summer signings Ezgjan Alioski dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Tom Barkhuizen missed the target from 25 yards for the Lilywhites in between two Pablo Hernandez for Leeds but Preston managed to deal with both, ‘keeper Chris Maxwell collecting the second.
Ben Pearson picked up the first yellow card of the game when he seemingly won the ball but the referee judged otherwise and booked the centre-midfielder.
Alan Browne had a shot blocked after Hugill pulled the ball back from the byline. There was plenty of evidence at Elland Road why Hugill has had plenty of interest from top clubs. Callum Robinson flashed an effort over the bar for the Lilywhites before Kemar Roofe pulled the ball back at the other end just for Tommy Spurr to clear the danger.
Leeds unable to break down Preston in the second half
After the break, Hugill started strong by dispossessing Liam Cooper, before squaring it to Browne who again saw his shot blocked, this time by Leeds ‘keeper Felix Wiedwald. Barkhuizen again missed the target from 25 yards out.
On 57 minutes Greg Cunningham volleyed into the back of the net via the crossbar but the goal was ruled out for offside after Cunningham got on the end of Daniel Johnson’s free kick. But this was when the game turned.
Leeds started to counter attack and Pearson pulled back one of the Whites fast attacking players to pick up his second yellow card of the game and got his marching orders on the hour mark.
Leeds reacted by making two changes, one seeing Samuel Saiz who scored a hat trick in mid week against Port Vale in the Carabao Cup. However, Saiz has been accused of spitting at one of the Vale players, so his performance has been marred. And Saiz didn’t create too much of an impact today, with the allegations potentially sitting on his mind.
Josh Harrop made his North End debut, coming on for Barkhuizen, before Chris Wood missed a half chance soon after. Cunningham was booked before Maxwell made a fantastic save to deny Wood slotting the ball into the corner before Cunningham cleared the ball.
Leeds’ loan signing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson played some fantastic balls into the box on his debut after joining from Manchester United, but nothing came of any of them and his debut ended on 82 minutes, being replaced by Stuart Dallas.
Ronaldo Viera was booked around 15 minutes after he was introduced to the fray. Maxwell was forced into numerous saves, but it was North End who finished the game off the strongest. Johnson rolled the ball across the six yard box begging for someone to tap it in, except it continued on through.
Paul Gallagher entered the game late on for Browne, before Harrop almost capped off a dream debut thrashing a shot at Wiedwald who tipped the ball onto the bar, the ball ricocheting out for a corner.
That was the last action of the game, with the final whistle bringing an end to the 0-0 draw.
North End will obviously be much happier with the result, especially battling for half an hour. Manager Alex Neil was very happy with his team’s performance saying his team “dominated in the latter stages” whereas Leeds new manager Thomas Christiansen said he would have “preferred the three points” but was happy with the clean sheet.
Both teams sit just outside the playoffs with four points a piece, having both won their opening day fixtures. Leeds face a tough home game against Fulham on Tuesday night, while Preston go to Derby on the same night.