Joe Garner silenced opposition manager Steven Pressley as his clinical second-half spot-kick sealed a 2-0 victory for Preston North End over Coventry City.
Tom Clarke pounced on Paul Gallagher’s fierce free-kick in the 62nd minute to open the scoring and Garner brushed off Sky Blues boss Pressley’s pre-match comments to win and dispatch a clear cut penalty in the 67th minute.
Pressley accused Garner of going to ground too easily in Friday’s pre-match press conference but the striker ignored the drama to play a decisive role as PNE sealed back-to-back victories.
The Lilywhites became the first team to win at the Ricoh Arena since the Sky Blues returned to the stadium after just over a season long absence.
City made Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium their temporary home and returned to their Coventry base earlier this month but PNE ended City’s happy home run.
Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that beat Crawley Town 2-0 last Saturday at Deepdale.
Chris Humphrey and Scott Wiseman were recalled to the starting XI as Calum Woods and Will Hayhurst moved to the bench.
Former PNE player Danny Pugh was named on the bench for the Sky Blues but did not feature.
North End upped the ante early on as Humphrey’s fizzing shot from just outside the box skimmed wide of Ryan Allsop’s left hand post in the sixth minute.
Humphrey surged down the right wing in the 10th minute but his charge was blocked by Danny Swanson’s late challenge and the Coventry midfielder was booked by referee Tim Robinson.
And Bailey Wright nodded the subsequent set piece way over the bar.
But Australia international Wright nearly dented the score sheet in the 21st minute as he latched on to Gallagher’s 30-yard free-kick but his powerful header kissed the top of the bar and flew to safety.
Gallagher’s slick pass picked out an unmarked Humphrey just outside the box. The Jamaica international raced towards goal but he was thwarted by Ryan Haynes’ last ditch tackle. The loose ball fell to Garner and he appeared to be challenged inside the Coventry box but the referee waved away the striker’s appeal in the 23rd minute.
After a quiet opening to the second 45 Brownhill forced Allsop into action in the 57th minute as the Coventry keeper saved the young midfielder’s looping shot.
Garner fizzed the ball across the goal mouth but Humphrey was beaten to the ball by Haynes in the 59th minute.
Haynes was booked for pulling Humphrey back and North End took the lead from the subsequent set piece - captain Clarke stole through a crowd of bodies to pounce on Gallagher’s right wing free-kick and poke the ball home in the 62nd minute.
PNE were awarded a penalty after Seb Hines brought Garner down on the right hand side of the box. The striker dusted himself down to smash the spot kick into the left corner and double North End’s lead in the 67th minute.
PNE right back Wiseman was booked for time wasting in the 84th minute as PNE held on to secure another three points.
PNE: Jones, Buchanan, Clarke, Wright, Wiseman (Woods, 85), Browne, Kilkenny, Brownhill, Humphrey (Reid, 72), Garner, Gallagher (Robinson, 76). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Laird, King, Hayhurst.
Coventry: Allsop, Willis, Webster, Fleck, Swanson (Coulibaly, 65) O’Brien, Jackson (McQuoid, 65), Tudgay, Clarke, Hines, Haynes. Subs not used: Burge, Pugh, Miller, Phillips, Finch.
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)
Attendance: 10,006 (PNE 783)