Kaine Kesler-Hayden hits late winner as bottom side Huddersfield stun Preston
Kaine Kesler-Hayden scored a late winner as bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield fought from behind to triumph 2-1 at promotion-chasing Preston.
Greg Cunningham had given the hosts a first-half lead, having been belatedly awarded the goal after Ched Evans initially claimed the header at the near post.
Jordan Rhodes registered his 96th goal for the Terriers before striking the post as the visitors battled back after the break, with Kesler-Hayden completing the turnaround by tapping home in the 85th minute.
Ben Woodburn led Preston’s attack in the opening exchanges, twice firing over from long range either side of a sending a header narrowly wide.
Preston were incensed after David Kasumu put in a rash challenge on Ryan Ledson, who escaped with just a yellow card from referee Geoff Eltringham in the 14th minute.
Cunningham was also on the receiving end of a heavy challenge, this time from Terriers captain Jonathan Hogg who also went into the book before the Preston defender put the home side up on 35 minutes.
Evans and Cunningham competed for the ball in the air with the former wheeling away in celebration before Cunningham was eventually awarded the goal – his second against Huddersfield in as many games.
Rhodes proved to be the Terriers’ most creative and physical presence, rounding Preston keeper Freddie Woodman with five minutes of the first half to go, shooting narrowly wide before the offside flag was raised.
Preston twice looked nailed on to extend their advantage in the first half of the second half, with Woodburn through on goal but only able to fire agonisingly wide.
Two minutes later, North End had the ball in the back of the net thanks to Woodburn, but his shot was unleashed after the flag was raised for offside.
Woodburn’s missed opportunities proved costly as former Blackburn player Rhodes pulled Huddersfield level in the 76th minute with a strike from the six-yard box after fantastic work on the right from substitute Brahima Diarra.
Rhodes was denied a goal by the post as he and Diarra linked up again, the striker’s effort bouncing off the far post to save the blushes of a scrambling Woodman.
But Kesler-Hayden put Huddersfield ahead with five minutes remaining, casually tapping home a cross from Jack Rudoni with the Preston defence seemingly leaving each other to deal with the danger.
Mark Fotheringham’s side continued to push for a goal to make certain of their first win in four games, but settled for a 2-1 triumph that moved them four points from safety.
The result was an eighth defeat of the season for Preston and meant they missed the chance to move into the play-off places.