Four goals in 18 second half minutes saw the Lilywhites stun Brentford with a brilliant second half comeback to win 4-2 on their first visit to the Brentford Community Stadium.
They found themselves 2-0 down at half-time, as both first half goals came against the run of play, the Bees scoring with their first chance when Ivan Toney slided home from Josh Dasilva’s left-wing cross, and then another one-touch finish from the former Peterborough man following a ball in from Bryan Mbeumo on the left.
But they came out and blew the Bees away in the opening period of the second half, with Scott Sinclair scoring twice to draw level, before Brad Potts and Sean Maguire made it 4-2 in a brilliant display by Alex Neil’s men to record their first three points of the new season.
The Lilywhites did not deserve to be behind for their efforts, having 60 per cent of possession and creating good chances, but the hosts got their noses in front on eight minutes.
Dasilva broke onto a ball from the midfield down the left-hand side, he drove in towards the edge of the left side of the penalty area before pulling the ball across to the edge of the six-yard box, where Toney fired home low into the bottom left-hand corner.
Undeterred, North End continued to press and good play on 11 minutes saw skipper Alan Browne and Scott Sinclair combining to create a chance for Sean Maguire, whose left-footed shot was well saved by Daniels low to his right.
More good build-up play on the right saw Joe Rafferty find Browne, who ran in behind and pulled the ball back to the penalty spot and a corner was conceded, with Patrick Bauer unable to find a team-mate with a head down from Ryan Ledson’s cross from the right.
Just after the half hour mark, Browne fired on target a left-footed volley after a Ledson ball from the right, following more good build-up play by PNE.
But two minutes before the interval, Toney doubled his and the Bees’ advantage after a swift counter-attack; a ball from left back to right wing by Sergi Canos found Bryan Mbeumo, who in turn played it back into Toney and he fired home from 15 yards out.
North End got back in the game seven minutes after the break, with an excellent run forward from Patrick Bauer, who was found by a deep cross from Rafferty on the right, the German heading it down for Scott Sinclair on the penalty spot, who drilled into the middle of the goal to make it 2-1.
And the same man levelled it up on the hour mark. It came from fantastic pressure down the left, Andrew Hughes robbing Mbeumo and then finding Sinclair with a drilled low pass across from the left, who collected it and drilled the ball into the bottom right corner.
They completely reversed things by 63 minutes with Brad Potts this time on the score sheet. It was a superb individual goal, found by Ledson outside the box, before ghosting into the penalty area and drilling a hard, low shot past Luke Daniels into the bottom left-hand corner for a third goal in 11 minutes.
Thomas Frank played all his cards at the second period’s mid-point, throwing in Said Benrahma and Saman Ghoddos, having already needing to bring on Mathias Jansen due to injury in the first half.
But it was North End who made it 4-2 with 20 minutes left. A superb corner from the left by Ledson presented a deep ball that Ben Davies headed down and Sean Maguire swivelled and fired home from seven yards out in the middle of the goal.
Emil Riis replaced Maguire with 12 minutes to go, but it was Ben Pearson who went close to a fifth, when Potts found him from the right, following good play again by Rafferty – the North End No.4’s drilled shot coming off home captain Pontus Jansson and ricocheting up for Daniels to eventually claim and it remained 4-2 with PNE seeing it out.
Brentford line-up: Daniels, Thompson, Pinnock, Norgaard (Jansen, 19), Canos (Ghoddos, 68), Emiliano (Benrahma, 68), Dasilva, Toney, Jansson (c), Mbeumo, Dalsgaard. Subs not used: Raya, Forss, Fosu, Sorensen.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Rafferty, Hughes, Pearson, Bauer, Davies, Potts, Ledson, Maguire (Riis, 78), Browne (c), Sinclair. Subs not used: Ripley, Harrop, Gallagher, Storey, Stockley, Bodin.
Referee: Mr D Whitestone