A goal in each half from Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen made it four out of four at Deepdale for the Lilywhites, as they moved into the top six with a 2-0 win over Thomas Frank’s Brentford.
Maguire converted early, bringing don Ryan Ledson’s cross with his chest, before volleying past David Raya and Barkhuizen stroked home from inside the six yard box after some superb build-up play by the two full backs, Joe Rafferty and Darnell Fisher with 20 minutes left.
Manager Alex Neil made four changes to the side that had taken a point at Nottingham Forest before the international break, with the two scorers returning from injury, along with the two assist makers, Fisher and Ledson, the Liverpudlian in for Ben Pearson, who missed out with a virus.
The game began with North End pressing high and before their fourth minute goal they should have had a penalty when Maguire was upended by Mathias Jensen just to the left of the six yard box.
Despite referee David Coote dismissing the claims, within 30 seconds of the shout, the opener came. A corner caused a scramble in the area, with the ball coming out to Ledson, 30 yards out, to the right of the box and his delivery was controlled on the penalty spot by the returning Irish forward, who brought the ball down brilliantly and fired low under former Blackburn Rovers ’keeper Raya and into the goal.
The game wasn’t one full of chances, for either side, with PNE’s two on target efforts bringing the goals and the visitors only two shots rebuffed comfortably by Declan Rudd, who deservedly recorded a clean sheet.
The first of those chances came three minutes before the break when French U21 international Bryan Mbeumo drove into space and shot from 25 yards, North End’s No.1 getting both hands to push the ball away to the right.
After he was on hand again seven minutes into the second period, when he got his body in the way to block from Ollie Watkins, getting a shooting chance from a tight angle to the left of the goal after a clever backheel from Saïd Benrahma released the Bees No.11 into a pocket of space.
But the game was over 20 minutes from the end when the second goal. The ball was worked out from the left hand corner, in front of the Alan Kelly Town End, and picked up by Rafferty, who looked up and fired a cross field ball into Fisher just in the right hand corner of the penalty area.
The right back looked up and calmly timed his low ball perfectly in behind the Brentford backline to find Barkhuizen, who coolly slotted home into the middle of the goal from just inside the six yard box, to the delight of the home support, team and bench.
The game was extremely well managed in the closing stages, with Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop on to get more control of the ball and there were no real worrying moments as the Lilywhites moved up to fifth in the table with the win.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Rafferty, Ledson (Gallagher, 55), Bauer, Davies, Bodin (Harrop, 65), Browne (c), Barkhuizen (Potts, 82), Johnson, Maguire. Subs not used: Ripley, Storey, Green, Stockley.
Brentford line-up: Raya, Henry, Nørgaard, Canós, Jensen (Dasilva, 73), Benrahma, Watkins, Jansson (C), Mbeumo (Mokotjo, 65), Dalsgaard, Jeanvier. Subs not used: Daniels, Thompson, Pinnock, Valencia, Žambůrek.
Referee: Mr D Coote
Attendance: 12,863 (579 Brentford fans)