Piroe penalty gives Leeds late win to leave Preston boss Lowe fuming

21 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Joel Piroe scored a stoppage-time penalty as Leeds boosted their automatic promotion challenge with a 2-1 home win against Preston.

Second-half substitute Piroe converted from the spot in the third minute of added time after Ryan Ledson was adjudged to have handled and Leeds’ last-gasp victory saw them close the gap on the top two back to four points.

The penalty decision left Preston boss Ryan Lowe fuming and believed if VAR was in use the referee’s call would have been overturned.

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There was last minute drama at Elland Road as Joel Piroe’s 94th-minute penalty earned Leeds a 2-1 win

He told Sky Sports: We’ve been undone by a decision that I know my feelings on it, and I know if there was VAR and it was in the Prem [Premier League] it doesn’t get given.

“I just want it to be fair for both teams and I don’t think it was today. In my eyes, it’s definitely not a pen.”

Will Keane gave Preston a second-minute lead and although Dan James equalised four minutes later it proved a frustrating afternoon for Leeds against dogged opponents.

Preston were without Duane Holmes, Freddie Woodman and Milutin Osmajic due to illness, but they made a flying start.

Ben Whiteman’s free-kick into the penalty area was headed back across goal by Liam Lindsay and, after Leeds failed to clear, Liam Millar’s miscued shot was turned home by Keane.

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A Will Keane goal sees Preston take the lead at Leeds after just 65 seconds

Preston’s lead was shortlived though. Junior Firpo raced on to Crysencio Summerville’s ball down the left and clipped a brilliant cross to the far post on the overlap for James to head Leeds level.

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Dan James equalises for Leeds just minutes after falling behind

The visitors appeared undeterred and it needed a flying save from Illan Meslier to keep out a goalbound effort from Millar, Preston’s match-winner when they beat Leeds 2-1 at Deepdale on Boxing Day.

Patrick Bamford headed James’ excellent cross straight at Preston goalkeeper Dai Cornell and Georginio Rutter was off target from Ilia Gruev’s corner, but despite stepping it up before the break the home side were kept at bay.

Summerville’s brilliant run to the by-line and cut back should have resulted in a second goal for Leeds soon after the restart, but Rutter’s effort hit a post.

Bamford fired wide after being played in by Rutter and saw another effort blocked before James’ clever chip narrowly cleared the crossbar as Leeds picked up where they left off.

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James goes close to giving Leeds the lead against Preston but his delicate lobs lands just over the bar

But Preston were proving dogged opponents and the home fans’ frustration turned to cheers when Cornell was booked by referee David Webb for time wasting in the 82nd minute.

Ledson became the fifth Preston yellow card after his trip on Gruev, which sparked a mass melee in midfield and also resulted in a booking for Bamford.

Rutter and substitute Piroe squandered further chances for Leeds and Preston substitute Robbie Brady’s last-ditch tackle on Bamford was celebrated by the visiting players.

But, in added time, Ledson’s outstretched arm made contact with the ball in the area following Joe Rodon’s header and Piroe held his nerve to bury his penalty and raise the roof at Elland Road.

The managers

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Preston manager Ryan Lowe questions the decision to award Leeds a penalty in the final moments

Preston’s Ryan Lowe:

“I’ll be careful with what I say. Our lads are unlucky not to come away with a point. We’ve been undone by a decision that I know my feelings on it, and I know if there was VAR and it was in the Prem [Premier League] it doesn’t get given.

“We should be coming away with a point.

“It rolls up his body and hits his arm – it’s not really stopping a goalscoring opportunity. But even before that it’s a foul [on Alan Browne].

“We’ve had numerous decisions that have gone against us in the season and we’ve been told they should’ve been either pens or red cards. It’s not going to help us, we should be on another eight points maybe but we haven’t had them decisions.

“I just want it to be fair for both teams and I don’t think it was today. In my eyes, it’s definitely not a pen.”

Leeds’ Daniel Farke:

“These are the best wins of the season. We’ve had many electrifying home performances with many goals, whose side are unbeaten in 14 league games at Elland Road.

“These are the best moments, the season-defining moments for the mood and the confidence and the belief in the dressing room.

“I love creating chance after chance and champagne football and scoring goal after goal, but these types of games and these types of wins are still the most enjoyable.”

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