Joe Garner finally broke his goal drought against his old club but 10-man PNE lost 2-1 to local rivals Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale.
North End keeper Jordan Pickford appeared to end his own six game clean sheet run as Corry Evans’ strike bounced back off the post into the path of Shane Duffy and Duffy’s strike was cleared off the line by ex-Blackburn man Paul Gallagher onto the back of Pickford on the ground who inadvertently knocked the ball into his own net in the 31st minute.
Chris Taylor was brought down by Paul Huntington as he sprinted across the box and Jordan Rhodes stepped up to coolly fire home in the 52nd minute.
But Blackburn born Garner popped up after substitute Stevie May’s strike was deflected up in the air and fired home from the edge of the box.
PNE dominated possession but could not find a way through Blackburn’s defence despite a loud penalty appeal by Adam Reach after the winger appeared to be fouled in the air in stoppage time.
Bailey Wright was sent off for two bookable offences. The centre back was booked twice in the last 10 minutes as he brought down Rovers sub Bengali-Fode Koita in PNE’s half to stop the opposition launching a counter-attack.
The game moves Rovers three points ahead of PNE in the Championship and gave new boss Paul Lambert the perfect start to his reign as Rovers manager.
Simon Grayson made one change to the side that dre 0-0 with QPR before the international break swapping Marnick Vermijl for Greg Cunningham.
PNE started lively and Gallagher’s shot was too hot for Jason Steele to handle as he pushed away the forward’s low long range effort and scrambled to pick the ball up.
Gallagher was in the action again but his curling shot was easily collected by Steele.
Rovers centre back Shane Duffy just headed wide of the left post after he pounced on Craig Conway’s corner in the 22nd minute.
Woods brought down Conway on the left and from the subsequent set-piece Rovers took the lead. The free-kick was cleared to Evans and his low shot clattered into the post before rebounding to Duffy. The Irishman’s shot was cleared by Gallagher on the line but the ball appeared to rebound off Pickford with Akpan hovering and trickled into the back of the net in the 31st minute.
Evans became the first name in referee Mike Dean’s book after he fouled Reach.
Captain Tom Clarke made his return from a shoulder injury at half-time, replacing Calum Woods at right back.
And PNE started brightly but it was Rovers who had the first clear cut chance of the half after Marshall pounced on Huntington’s loose ball and stormed towards goal but the winger’s effort fizzed over the bar.
And Rovers soon doubled their tally after Huntington brought down Taylor in the box. Referee Dean immediately pointed to the spot and booked Huntington for the foul. Rovers striker Rhodes stepped up to take the subsequent spot-kick and coolly fired home in the 52nd minute.
Grayson brought on May and Keane for Doyle and Johnson and the substitutions reinvigorated PNE.
Within moments of entering the fray May’s shot was charged down and as the ball bounced around the top of the box Garner pounced to fire home his first Championship goal of the season against his former club in the 67th minute.
Marshall sprinted to the back line and fired the ball across goal but with no Rovers player in the mix Huntington was able to clear but only to Akpan who fired over from distance.
Bailey Wright was booked for brining down Rovers substitute Bengali-Fode Koita in the 83rd minute.
Marshall launched a counter-attack and stormed towards Pickford’s goal with Koita in support but his deflected shot was easily collected by Pickford.
PNE dominated possession but could not find a way through Rovers’ defence.
Wright was sent off for a second bookable offence after Koita had wriggled away from him but the centre back tugged back the striker’s arm and the referee sent him off in the 90th minute.
PNE: Pickford, Woods (Clarke, 46), Huntington, Wright, Cunningham, Reach, Browne, Gallagher, Johnson (May, 64), Doyle (Keane, 64), Garner. Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Welsh, Hugill.
Rovers: Steele, Henley, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson, Marshall, Akpan, Evans, Conway (Guthrie, 74), Lawrence (Taylor, 32), Rhodes (Koita, 81)
. Subs not used: Raya, Spurr, Kilgallon, Delfouneso.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Attendance: 19852 (5486 away