Goals late in either half from Patrick Bauer and Brad Potts gave the Lilywhites three points at Deepdale to end their home campaign in 2019/20.
Bauer fired home Paul Gallagher’s corner a minute before the break and Potts arrowed in a left-footed drive with three minutes to go to secure the win for Alex Neil’s men.
There were four changes to the side that faced Brentford in midweek, with Josh Harrop, Brad Potts, Jayden Stockley and Paul Gallagher – who captained the side – coming into the starting XI.
And it was one of those, North End’s No.20, who had the first chance to open the scoring, after nine minutes. It was a great move with Ryan Ledson finding Stockley in the ‘D’; he paid it off to Daniel Johnson, who pushed it back to Stockley, in on goal, but he fired over the bar from 12 yards out.
A minute later and a hugely controversial moment when a blatant penalty was not awarded for a foul on Harrop in the area – it was a clear foul by Jude Bellingham – a stonewall spot kick – but not awarded by referee Stephen Martin.
The visitors first chance came right before the drinks break when Gary Gardner’s header at the near post went into the side-netting from Bellingham’s corner.
Just after the half hour Harrop was fouled 25 yards out in a right-hand channel, this time the free kick being given. Gallagher took the free kick, a brilliant effort, which beat Camp, but flew inches wide of the right-hand post.
However, the No.12 was involved in the opening goal in the penultimate minute of normal time in the first half; Gallagher’s corner from the right finding Patrick Bauer, who got in front of Harlee Dean and drilled a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner from eight yards out.
In the last seconds of the three minutes added on in the opening period, there was a brilliant save by Camp to deny Stockley’s downward header from Gallagher’s latest corner from the right, but it was 1-0 going into the interval.
At the start of the second half Declan Rudd was at his very best to turn a volley from Gary Gardner over the bar from a 20-yard strike, it was at full stretch, with a late hand to tip the ball over the bar.
The visitors’ chances continued in the early part of the half; Harlee Dean missing a free header from six yards out, Rudd making an excellent stop and then on the follow up, Bellingham fired wide of the left-hand post from 18-yards out.
But the second goal was secured as North End capitalised on the break with three minutes left. A long ball was challenged for by Maguire, Brad Potts’ run collecting the ball, getting in behind Colin and firing hard and low into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-0 and secure the win in the final home game of the campaign.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Rafferty, Hughes, Ledson, Bauer, Storey, Potts, Gallagher (c), Stockley, Johnson (Barkhuizen, 78), Harrop (Maguire, 77). Subs not used: Hudson, Fisher, Browne, Huntington, Sinclair, Nugent, Bodin.
Birmingham City line-up: Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Colin, Crowley (Boyd-Munce, 71), Jutkiewicz, Dean (c), Gardner, Bellingham, Sunjic (Bela, 61), Hogan (Reid, 82). Subs not used: Trueman, Harding, Kieftenbeld, Fernandez, Burke, Gordon.
Referee: Mr S Martin