Preston North End edged out Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers to seal three points thanks to a frantic first-half performance at Ewood Park.
Preston took the lead against the run of play thanks to Greg Cunningham’s superb strike and doubled their advantage through Liam Lindsay’s header.
Blackburn hit back on the stroke of half-time through Adam Armstrong’s penalty after Andrew Hughes was judged to have brought down Sam Gallagher.
Bradley Dack had the ball in the net for Blackburn late on but his close-range effort was ruled out for offside.
The result moves Preston up to 10th in the Championship table and level on points with eighth-placed Blackburn, with both sides six points off the play-off places.
Despite a drab opening quarter of an hour, Cunningham’s stunning goal gave the match some much-needed inspiration.
It was towards the end of the first half that the match really perked up, however, as Blackburn fought back no sooner had Lindsay glanced in Preston’s second.
Referee David Webb initially seemed unfazed after Hughes went in on Gallagher, yet it was the intervention of one of his assistants that saw him award a penalty to the hosts.
Armstrong made no mistake from the spot to score his 18th Championship goal of the season to put Rovers back in it moments before the break.
Emil Riis almost made sure of the points for Preston late on but his one-on-one shot was saved by Blackburn keeper Thomas Kaminski.
And even despite not taking that chance, Alex Neil’s side held on to make up for their 3-0 defeat by Rovers at Deepdale in November.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“Our first-half [performance] wasn’t very good. We had no forward passes, we were messing around in our own half. We played the wrong game really.
“We pinned them back and probably deserved to get an equaliser in the second half but it wasn’t to be.
“The team know the expectations at this club, they have to go out and do it and they didn’t tonight.”
Preston manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“I thought the way we went about it was very good. We changed our shape, personnel and how we function in two days.
“For the lads to take it on and carry it out was very good. It’s not easy when you’ve got new players.
“We deservedly won. The fans now will have the bragging rights until the next time we meet.”
- 2NyambeSubstituted forElliottat 63′minutes
- 27TravisSubstituted forBreretonat 87′minutes
- 18DavenportSubstituted forDowningat 45′minutes
- 9GallagherSubstituted forHarwood-Bellisat 75′minutes
- 8RothwellSubstituted forDolanat 45′minutes
- 6LindsayBooked at 84mins
- 18LedsonBooked at 61mins
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forPottsat 76′minutes
- 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forRiis Jakobsenat 76′minutes
- 26EvansSubstituted forMolumbyat 90+2′minutes
- 2van den Berg
- 19Riis Jakobsen
Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Preston North End 2.
Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Preston North End 2.
Offside, Blackburn Rovers. Tyrhys Dolan tries a through ball, but Adam Armstrong is caught offside.
Barry Douglas (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Brad Potts (Preston North End).
Substitution, Preston North End. Jayson Molumby replaces Ched Evans.
Offside, Preston North End. Brad Potts tries a through ball, but Ched Evans is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Brad Potts (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Ledson following a corner.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Jarrad Branthwaite.
Attempt blocked. Brad Potts (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Ben Brereton replaces Lewis Travis.
Liam Lindsay (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Liam Lindsay (Preston North End).
Attempt blocked. Tyrhys Dolan (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Stewart Downing (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Greg Cunningham.
Offside, Blackburn Rovers. Adam Armstrong tries a through ball, but Bradley Dack is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Barry Douglas with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Jordan Storey.