Kitson raced onto a long ball through from the back by Maguire which bounced between the two North End centre halves and as Thorsten Stuckmann advanced the ball was lofted over the German and went in off the left hand post.
North End almost snatched a point with the last attack of the game, as goalkeeper George Long made a world class save to deny Paul Huntington, but the visitors took the points back over the Pennines.
The goal was United’s only shot on target in a first half where neither keeper was really tested. The best of the chances until the goal fell to North End.
Stuart Beavon won the Lilywhites’ first corner of the game in the 22nd minute. It was a good move as Wroe clipped the ball to the back post to where Chris Beardsley found space, but his header back towards goal was too high and over the bar.
Then on 40 minutes a free kick was worked well as Nicky Wroe played it from a right hand channel to Jack King, who in turn fed the ball back to John Welsh 25 yards out, but his well-struck daisy-cutter whisked past the left hand post.
But the visitors, who had been resorting to long hopeful balls, finally found one that penetrated the North End backline just two minutes before the break as Tony McMahon’s hopeful high ball came down between Wright and Robertson and Kitson ran on and lofted the ball over the North End No.1 and off the inside of the post and into the net.
The goalscorer was replaced at the interval, with Chris Porter coming on for the former Stoke frontman.
Paul Huntington replaced Bailey Wright just before the hour mark for Preston and his first touch was to clear a Blackman touch, smashing it against the post and away from goal.
The game came to life after the hour mark, with the North End faithful in full voice and Beardsley almost responding with a volley just past the post from Monakana's right wing cross after the wingman had switched flanks.
The wing man was getting in the game much more in the second half and fired a glorious 25 yard strike inches past post and bar just before the introduction of Akpo Sodje with 20 minutes left.
Thorsten Stuckmann made a fine save from Nick Blackman with 12 minutes left after the Blades frontman had ridden two tackles in the area.
Four minutes were added on and North End won a free kick with two minutes left on the clock as good as a corner on the left - Stuckmann was up for the cross, but the opportunity came for nothing, however, in the dying seconds a brilliant save from United's young goalkeeper George Long kept out Paul Huntington's powerful header to give the visitors all three points.
PNE Line-Up: Stuckmann, Keane, Laird, Welsh, Robertson, Wright (Huntington, 59), Monakana, Wroe (Sodje, 71), Beavon, Beardsley (Amoo, 65), King. Subs not used: Simonsen, Cummins, Byrom, Procter.
Sheffield United Line-Up: Long, McMahon, Williams, Doyle, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, McDonald, Kitson (Porter, 46), Blackman (Miller, 84), McAllister (Collins, 77). Subs not used: Willis, Cresswell, Westlake, Cofie.
Referee: Mr C Sarginson
Attendance: 11,536 (2,072 away fans)