Leeds head coach Daniel Farke described his side’s last-gasp 2-1 Sky Bet Championship win against Preston at Elland Road as “season-defining”.
Substitute Joel Piroe converted a stoppage-time penalty to clinch Leeds three vital points in the race for automatic promotion after Dan James had cancelled out Will Keane’s early opener for Preston.
Leeds closed the gap on the top two to four points and remain the only English Football League club not to lose at home this season.
“These are the best wins of the season. We’ve had many electrifying home performances with many goals,” said Farke, 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.”
Leeds’ players wore black armbands in tribute to on-loan Bournemouth winger Jaidon Anthony’s mother, Donna, who died earlier this week and Farke dedicated victory over Preston to the player and his family.
Farke also said his team had been determined to avenge their 2-1 defeat to Preston at Deepdale on Boxing Day when goalkeeper Illan Meslier was controversially sent off.
The German added: “The lads today – we didn’t want to mention during the week too much – they wanted to win this game also for Jaidon and his family because he had a tough time this week and we’re like a family here at Leeds United.
“We wanted to present him and his family and dedicate this win to him and this is why it meant so much to the players.”
Preston boss Ryan Lowe was furious with referee David Webb’s penalty decision.
Webb did not hesitate in pointing to the spot after the ball had caught substitute Ryan Ledson’s outstretched arm following Joe Rodon’s header.
Lowe claimed the penalty would not have been given in the Premier League by a video assistant referee as the ball hit Ledson’s torso first.
“Gutted is an understatement,” Lowe said. “I’m gutted for the boys, I thought they were terrific in everything they did – coming to Elland Road and going toe-to-toe, when not many people would’ve expected us to do that, or win.
“We were in the ascendency for getting a result, until a decision which has baffled me. Some of the decisions all game baffled me really, because they were very inconsistent.”
Lowe said his dogged players deserved at least a point and added: “I’ve been to Elland Road as a fan, I know what it’s like.
“I know what the pressures are like. Decisions have been made at Elland Road for many, many years and this is just another.”