North End’s excellent recent run came to an end as a young side lost 1-0 to Shrewsbury Town, who extended their own unbeaten run to five matches.
The young Lilywhites got the game underway in heavy rain at Shrewsbury Sports Village, but the home side could have taken the lead in only the second minute when Ethan Jones drove into the penalty area and shot low and just wide of the left post.
However, the Shrews side did take the lead with 16 minutes on the clock. George Hassall squared the ball low across goal from the left and McAtee has a simple tap in from six yards out.
It could have been worse nine minutes later, Hassall fed Ethan Jones in space, the striker sped past Ben Roberts, but his left-foot strike was parried behind for a corner by Callum Roberts.
McAtee could also have doubled Town's lead in the 33rd minute when he robbed Ben Roberts in midfield, bore down on the Preston goal and shot low and just wide of the far post.
After a difficult first half PNE came out of the traps quickly after the break and could, and perhaps should have been level within a minute of the restart.
James Boyd crossed deep from the right and Josh Earl rose highest at the far post to meet the ball, but headed just wide of the far right corner.
McAtee should have scored his second with 23 minutes left when Chris Gallagher fed him clear through the centre one on one, but McAtee's low shots was saved by Roberts’ legs.
The home side were reduced to ten men with 12 minutes to go when Callum Grogan was shown a second yellow card and the Lilywhites put late pressure on, but were unable to get an equaliser.
Shrewsbury Town line-up: Bannister, Sears (Bonner, 50), Roberts, Hughes, Grogan, Gallagher, Butts, McAtee (Barnett, 76), Hassall (Higgs, 62), Jones, Jones. Subs not used: Gilpin, Rammell.
PNE line-up: C Roberts, Tait, Whelan, Kwateng, B Roberts, A Jo Robinson, Crankshaw (Howard, 45), Jagne, Davidson, Boyd, Earl. Sub not used: Hancox.
Referee: Mr J Wyatt