Millar scores wonder goal as Preston beat 10-player Leeds26 December 2023
Leeds' hopes of narrowing the gap to second-placed Ipswich suffered a blow as they were beaten 2-1 by Preston on Boxing Day.
The game exploded into life in the second half, after a cagey first, when Daniel Farke's team were reduced to 10 players, with goalkeeper Illan Meslier shown a straight red card for a needless shove in the face of Milutin Osmajic.
Replacement stopper Karl Darlow's first action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net, as Alan Browne expertly guided in a header after being picked out by a majestic ball in from the left from Liam Millar.
Pascal Struijk scored from the spot to bring the visitors level against the run of play, but the irrepressible Millar was the man to win the game for North End with a wonder strike from the edge of the box after a mazy run in from the left.
It means rather than close the gap on Ipswich, they drop to fourth in the table after Southampton won 5-0 later on Boxing Day.
How Preston inflicted a damaging defeat
With a full house watching on, the Roses battle atmosphere was white hot as the two teams got under way for the early kick-off.
The first opportunity went Leeds' way. Djed Spence made a purposeful break down the left and crossed in for Joel Piroe, but his strike was blocked.
There was an even better block at the other end soon after when Glen Kamara expertly got in the way of Ben Whiteman's shot.
Given Preston boss Ryan Lowe's much-publicised backing from the club hierarchy during the week, there was certainly no hint of pressure early on as the stuttering hosts - and their fans - were giving it everything.
Canadian winger Millar whipped in a terrific cross, but skipper Alan Browne missed it by inches.
Millar then fluffed a great chance when, after being found in acres of space by Brad Potts, he blazed woefully over the top from 18 yards.
He went much closer in the 34th minute, with a brilliant curling effort from an angle forcing Meslier to produce a super save to keep the scores level.
Leeds' cause was seriously hindered just eight minutes after the restart when a total loss of discipline cost Meslier dearly.
After initially clashing with Whiteman following a comfortably-taken cross from the right, the Leeds keeper then pushed striker Milutin Osmajic in the face after he had intervened and left referee Josh Smith reaching straight to his top pocket for the red card.
Just two minutes later, and with sub keeper Karl Darlow now having replaced Piroe, Leeds fell behind.
Browne found space in the box as he headed home Millar's pinpoint cross.
Preston, clearly buoyed and now with a goal and a man advantage, fluffed a decent chance to make it two at the three-quarter point of the game when Browne this time smashed wastefully over the top from the edge of the box.
Georginio Rutter went close for the 10 men, before parity was restored, somewhat against the run of play, in the 83rd minute.
Dan James jinked into the box before being tripped by McCann, leaving skipper Pascal Struijk to slot home from the spot to make it 1-1.
However, that was not enough to earn Leeds a point as Millar darted into the visitors' box before curling home sweetly to seal the deal just before the game headed into added time.
Preston's Ryan Lowe:
"The lads were excellent today, both with and without the ball. They were fantastic, they acquitted themselves brilliantly from start to finish.
"I thought we were the better team in the first half - we had that edge about us. Then in the second half after the red card we knew we'd have to be dogged and resolute.
"Of course, the game changed a bit after the red card, but we kept going and in the end we've got a big that win we deserved.
"We've all been disappointed over recent weeks, but the results we've had have definitely not been for the lack of trying.
"I know we might not be blessed with as much quality in our squad as ones like Leeds, but every one of my players shows a never-say-die attitude."
Leeds' Daniel Farke:
"It's disappointing because the second player [Osmajic] really has nothing to do with it. He's come in and tried to provoke Illan then he goes and rolls around 10 times. Maybe the referee should sense what was really happening there. Maybe a yellow card would have been a fairer outcome.
"Having said that I can't complain because we've gone and lost to a Preston team who have worked and fought so hard. We were a bit lazy in certain moments, but sometimes this does happen after we had been praised so much during the week."
"We didn't create nearly enough chances, and then in the second half early, we have the key moment with the red card.
"We produced a great reaction after that, the lads were brave and we got ourselves an equaliser that I felt we deserved. We then allow Preston to make it 2-1 though.
"Millar has been allowed to run 40 yards at us and then he's got himself a dream goal."
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This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/preston-north-end-vs-leeds-united/report/484985