Brad Potts, Ched Evans and Scott Sinclair gave the Lilywhites a convincing victory over Carlos Corberán’s Huddersfield Town at Deepdale.
Potts fired home after Sinclair had seen a shot saved midway through the first half and Evans drilled in the second from a cross from the left by the first scorer, before Sinclair completed the scoring from a superb team move with just over ten minutes to go.
It was an unchanged squad named by manager Alex Neil from the goalless draw with Queens Park Rangers three days earlier, but it was the visitors who had the first two opportunities.
On both occasions Daniel Iversen was in good form, denying Isaac Mbenza five minutes in, who rifled a shot goalwards from five yards outside right corner of penalty area and then making another good stop on the 20-minute mark to deny Duane Holmes, after a clever lofted through ball by Duane Holmes.
However, the home side went in front 23 minutes in. A superb through ball from Evans sent Sinclair in behind, he drew Ryan Scholfield from his goal, but the Terriers keeper made a fine save, but the ball came out to Potts who drilled a half-volley back that squeezed under Naby Sarr’s boot and into the bottom right-hand corner from 15 yards out, for his fourth goal of the season.
The West Yorkshire outfit had an opportunity to draw level before half-time. A foul on Fraizer Campbell 27 yards out gave Mbenza a free kick effort which he got on target, but it was well-saved diving to his left by Iversen with two hands, at a good height for him.
In the second half North End were more dominant and just before the hour mark they had a good chance to make it two. A great ball from Greg Cunningham was fired into Evans on the edge of the ‘D’; the striker laid the ball off for Potts, who hit a stunning curler with shape from 25 yards that went off the top of the right corner of the cross bar and over the bar.
The second came though on 67 minutes. Skipper Alan Browne played a sublime ball to send Potts down the left and he drove into the penalty area and pulled the ball across for Evans running in, who slammed home from 15 yards out, taking a deflection off Sarr on the way.
And it was three on 79 minutes with the goal of the game. A clearance in his own areas by Evans, found Alan Browne, who played a ball with the outside of his boot to Barkhuizen - who had just come on – who gathered from behind him and then crossed with the outside of his right foot from the left, perfectly into the path of the onrushing Sinclair who fired a side-footed effort back across Schofield and into the goal to complete the scoring.
PNE line-up: Iversen, van den Berg, Cunningham, Whiteman, Storey, Hughes, Sinclair (Johnson, 90), Browne (c) (Molumby, 90), Evans, Potts, Gordon (Barkhuizen, 77). Subs not used: Ripley, Bayliss, Rafferty, Riis, Huntington, Rodwell-Grant.
Huddersfield Town line-up: Schofield, Pipa, Vallejo, Bacuna, O’Brien (c), Holmes (Phillips, 54), Keogh (Stearman, 75), Mbenza (High, 70), Campbell (Sanogo, 75), Sarr, Edmonds-Green (Rowe, 46). Subs not used: Pereira, Pritchard, Duhaney, Thomas.
Referee: Mr J Linington