First-half goals from Ryan Ledson and Alan Browne earned Preston North End victory on the road against Birmingham City, despite a late consolation for the hosts.
Ledson’s first goal of the season came ten minutes in, as he struck a fantastic effort from the edge of the box into the bottom corner, before Browne doubled his side’s lead five minutes later with a flicked header from a corner.
There were chances later in the half for the likes of Ben Woodburn and Tom Cannon, before Lukas Jutkiewicz netted an 83rd-minute header, but North End held on in the final stages.
Ryan Lowe reverted to his favoured 3-5-2 formation for this one, with Robbie Brady recalled at left wing back, while loan duo Cannon and Liam Delap started up top.
It was an important day at St. Andrew's as the home side hosted their annual Arthur matchday, remembering and celebrating the life of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, while there was history made by Rebecca Welch, who became the first female referee to take charge of a full Championship fixture.
The hosts enjoyed a little bit of pressure in the very early stages of the game, with Freddie Woodman called into action by Reda Khadra just a few minutes in, but it was PNE who took the lead on ten minutes.
Brady sent a deep cross into the area towards Tom Cannon, whose header back across goal was flicked away by a defender, but only to Ledson, who superbly struck a first-time effort with his left foot right into the bottom corner.
Delap then nearly had his first goal for the club a quarter of an hour in when he raced onto a long ball over the top, but his low effort just got a touch off the goalkeeper to divert it wide.
The second goal arrived from the following corner, though, as Brady’s cross from the right was deftly flicked on at the near post by skipper Browne, and the ball went across the face of goal to find the back of the net.
It could well have been three for PNE just three minutes later when the ball fell kindly to Ben Woodburn on the edge of the box, and his 20-yard strike fell a matter of inches wide after taking a slight deflection.
Shortly before the break, there was a chance for Cannon, who did so well to flick the ball through the legs of Kevin Long before seeing a low strike kept out by John Ruddy.
Into the second half, there weren’t too many chances of note for either side certainly in its opening stages, but North End remained comfortable and enjoyed some fast breaks through the likes of Brady on the left and Cannon up front.
The hosts did, however, get one back seven minutes from time – which proved to be a consolation – as Jutkiewicz headed home on the end of a Maxime Colin cross.
There was then a late opportunity for substitute Jordan Graham to equalise for his side, but he spurned his effort over the bar and PNE left St. Andrew’s with all three points.
Birmingham City line-up: Ruddy; Colin (Graham, 88), Sanderson, Long (Friend, 62), Trusty; Chong (Jutkiewicz, 62), Hannibal (Bacuna, 62), Bielik, Khadra; Deeney, Hogan. Subs not used: Etheridge, James, Chang.
PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Browne, Ledson, McCann, Woodburn (Johnson, 88), Brady; Cannon (Parrott, 81), Delap (Evans, 69). Subs not used: Cornell, Fernández, Cunningham, Diaby.
Attendance: 16,608 (1,515 PNE fans).
Referee: Rebecca Welch.