A first goal in North End colours for Chris Robertson and a virtuoso performance from Danny Mayor saw North End defeat Play-Off hopefuls Huddersfield Town with a convincing display at Deepdale.
The centre half fired home from the edge of the six yard box ten minutes after the break following a superb corner routine between Paul Coutts and Danny Mayor, with the home grown winger dancing past four defenders before putting the ball on a plate for the No.5 to convert past Ian Bennett in the Terriers goal.
And it could have been a much more convincing scoreline as the Lilywhites put on a dominant second half performance with Mayor and Paul Coutts pulling the strings going forward and substitute Craig Morgan anchoring a solid back line.
The game took a long while to get going, with a cagey opening half hour, but things exploded 15 minutes before the break, with both sides having chances to go into the interval ahead.
Neither keeper had been tested in the first third of the game, but both showed fine form within 60 seconds of each other, firstly Thorsten Stuckmann denied League One's top marksman Jordan Rhodes on 32 minutes as the forward found space just inside the box to get a left foot shot away, but the big German got down low to his right to deny the visitors' No.17 his 38th goal of a prolific season.
Up the other end and Ian Bennett made an outstanding low stop to his left to deny Danny Mayor the opener. Paul Parry had thrown the ball in on the left into the feet of Iain Hume - who had returned to the starting line-up as the only change from draw at Stevenage, replacing Chuks Aneke - who then laid it off to Mayor. The winger danced past a defender before curling a low right footed effort towards the bottom corner, but Bennett just got down to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Four minutes later it was the woodwork that denied Graham Westley's side the breakthrough. Paul Coutts and David Gray exchanged a slick one-two on the right hand side before the former delivered to Iain Hume at the back post. The Canadian brought the ball down and set up Chris Holroyd, who volleyed goalwards, but the ball came back out off the inside of the left hand post. The rebound found Danny Mayor but the visitors through bodies in the way of his shot to concede a corner.
The North End boss was then forced to make two changes in the space of a minute, losing Iain Hume and Paul Parry through foot and hamstring injuries, respectively. Cummins replaced the Canadian in attack, whilst Craig Morgan returned from injury to partner Chris Robertson, Bailey Wright moving to left back.
The changes might have unsettled the Lilywhites as the Terriers finished the half with a good chance; Stuckmann again needed to deny Rhodes as a ricochet in the PNE area fell nicely for the Scottish international who found himself one-on-one with the North End No.1, but it was the German who came out on top to deny the former Ipswich Town man at point blank range.
The interval proved to be pivotal in the game as North End came out of the dressing room on the front foot and from the off they set Simon Grayson's side on the defensive and were in the lead on 55 minutes.
A corner in front of the tunnel was taken quickly by Danny Mayor; he exchanged a one-two with Paul Coutts before ghosting past four red-shirted defenders and threading the ball across the six yard line to Chris Robertson at the back post, who gleefully hammered home into the roof of the net from six yards out to the delight of a 11,267 crowd inside Deepdale.
It was Scotsman Robertson's first goal since his transfer window move from Torquay United and celebrated in style by the team in front of the Town End.
A minute later and it was almost two as Danny Mayor again delivered a set piece, this time an inswinging corner from the same side as the goal came. The cross was flicked on by Max Ehmer at the near post, but skipper Andy Procter was unable to keep his header down from ten yards out.
Mayor was now on the rampage and tormenting the Huddersfield right full back. Ian Bennet managed to keep hold of a shot from the No.16 on the hour mark after dancing past six men and on 71 minutes he showed an amazing burst of speed to thrust at the heart of the backline, past five men, before putting one on his backside on the penalty spot, only denied what would have been the goal of the season by a last ditch tackle from Terriers skipper Peter Clarke who through himself in front of the ball.
These two terrorising runs sandwiched an equally powerful break from Paul Coutts, who raced away from a Huddersfield corner and threaded the ball through to Graham Cummins, however, his direct run took him slightly wide and his eventual shot was straight at Ian Bennett.
Huddersfield aren't Play-Off challengers for no reason though and tried to get back in the game, relying on corners and long throws from Sean Morrison, but the North End defence never looked like conceding and Morgan, Robertson and Co all worked collectively as a unit to see out the game and give the Lilywhites three points.