Preston 2-4 Sheffield Utd

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport at Deepdale

Matt Phillips and Lee Williamson both scored twice as Sheffield United defeated Preston to leapfrog them in the League One table.

Loanee Phillips put the visitors ahead with a low strike before Clarke Carlisle equalised with a header.

Phillips restored United's lead with another crisp finish before Iain Hume's shot on the turn levelled again.

Substitute Williamson, a former Preston loanee, sealed victory with two strikes across goal.

Danny Wilson's Blades had conceded two late goals against rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday but they showed the resolve and strength of character to earn all three points against a Preston side that twice drew level.

The Blades struck after just four minutes, with Phillips cutting inside Steven Smith and drilling a crisp low strike beyond Iain Turner for this first goal since joining on a one-month deal from Blackpool.

The goal seemed to rattle Preston, who had Hume back from injury as one of four changes from the side that lost at Walsall.

Right-winger Phillips was given far too much space and had another low strike saved, while it took a desperate tackle from Brian McLean to halt another purposeful run from the former Wycombe player.

North End seemed bereft of ideas but gradually prised their way into the contest, with Barry Nicholson shooting from range and Jamie Proctor scuffing a header, while Danny Mayor enlivened the crowd on a chilly evening with a mazy 60-yard run that drew a foul from Nick Montgomery.

Hume saw a free-kick deflected over off the wall but Carlisle would not be denied with his header, which bounced into the ground and looped over Steve Simonsen.

The Blades still looked dangerous and went in front again before the break when North End failed to defend a throw-in, with Billy Clarke flicking the ball on to Phillips, who delivered another crisp strike beyond Turner.

North End levelled for a second time shortly after the hour mark when a period of pressure culminated with Hume's fine finish.

The Canada international controlled a low cross from Smith, turned sharply and drilled his strike into the bottom corner.

Preston grew in confidence and Simonsen made an excellent save to deny Paul Coutts, but Turner was less fortunate at the other end, failing to stop a saveable effort across goal from Williamson.

And Williamson secured the points for the Blades late on - in the process condemning Preston to their third straight league defeat - with a precise low strike into the bottom corner.

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