Preston North End 1 Leeds United 4: Former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford sent off in rout

Souleymane Doukara celebrates with Hadi Sacko after scoring Leeds's second
Souleymane Doukara celebrates with Hadi Sacko after scoring Leeds's second
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Promotion-chasing Leeds kept pace with their Sky Bet Championship play-off rivals as three goals in 14 first-half minutes helped them secure a 4-1 victory at Preston.

Kemar Roofe started the goal rush, which included strikes from Hadi Sacko and Souleymane Doukara, with a reply from Preston's Marnick Vermijl arriving in between times.

Hadi Sacko slots home Leeds's second

Hadi Sacko slots home Leeds's second

Substitute Pablo Hernandez added a fourth late on, while North End also had Jermaine Beckford sent off three minutes after he came on.

Leeds have now won three successive league games and four of their last six against the Lilywhites.

The first half-chance of the game fell to the visitors after 14 minutes. Some smart one-touch passing between Liam Bridcutt and Sacko on the halfway line released Doukara to run at the Preston defence, but he dragged his shot from 20 yards harmlessly wide.

And they had the lead four minutes later. Stuart Dallas' free-kick was met at the far post by Pontus Jansson, who headed over Chris Maxwell, where Roofe was on hand to head home from a yard out.

Garry Monk's side doubled their advantage after 23 minutes as a superb interchange between Roofe and Sacko on the edge of the area set the latter through on goal, where he lashed past Maxwell from 12 yards.

But Preston hit back within four minutes, as Alan Browne and Simon Makienok combined, with the Danish striker nodding the ball back to Vermijl, whose first-time strike from 20 yards was too strong for Robert Green to keep out.

The hosts' joy was to be short-lived, however, as a pulsating first half continued when Leeds scored again after 31 minutes.

Doukara jinked his way along the left by-line and fired a shot on goal, which was badly fumbled by Maxwell, and crept over the line.

Preston started the second half brightly and had a chance to pull one back after 59 minutes. Makienok rose highest in the area to nod down for Browne, whose improvised flick from three yards was well saved low down by Green.

But Simon Grayson's side were reduced to 10 men after 69 minutes, when Beckford, just back from a ban for fighting team-mate Eoin Doyle, was sent off three minutes after coming on.

During an injury break, he appeared to get involved with a Leeds player, and was dismissed before play resumed.

That appeared to kill any resistance Preston had left and it was Leeds who looked most likely to score.

Luke Ayling slipped the ball into Roofe after 78 minutes, whose strike from the edge of the area was narrowly wide.

And Leeds, who have lost just two of their last 11 league games, notched again after 88 minutes, as Chris Wood slipped in Hernandez to slide the ball past Maxwell from 12 yards.