Match report: Newcastle 4 PNE 1
Preston North End could not delay Newcastle United's promotion back to the Premier League as they went down to defeat at St James' Park.
The Magpies' victory sent them back to the top flight at the first time of asking, North End briefly threatening to spoil the party in the first half before crumbling in the second.
North End finished with 10 men, Paul Gallagher sent-off for handling on the line in conceding the penalty for the third goal.
All four goals they conceded could be traced back to mistakes.
The hosts took an early lead through Ayoze Perez who bundled the ball home from a corner which came all the way across the box.
Simon Grayson's men responded well, Daniel Johnson seeing a shot saved by Rob Elliott after breaking clear, before Jordan Hugill brought them level in the 14th minute.
Hugill flicked home a Tom Barkhuizen cross after Preston had counter-attacked from the edge of their own box.
The visitors went on to control the play before a mix-up in midfield between Johnson and Aiden McGeady handed Newcastle their lead back on the stoke of half-time, Christian Atsu scoring.
In the second half the game got away from North End, Gallagher using both hands to keep out a shot from Isaac Hayden on the line - Matt Ritchie scoring the resulting penalty.
A fourth goal quickly followed, a Jonjo Shevley corner hitting the inside of the post and bouncing against Perez into the net.
This was a fourth defeat on the bounce for PNE, with them having conceded 13 goals in them.
Grayson had made three changes to the side, with Tyias Browning, Tommy Spurr and Johnson coming into the starting XI.
They replaced Greg Cunningham, Marnick Vermijl and Callum Robinson - the latter two dropping to the bench while a fractured leg kept Cunningham on the sidelines.
On the bench there was a return to the squad for Ben Pringle for the first time since January, and Anders Lindegaard was back as sub keeper after being left out against Norwich on Easter Monday.
As expected, Newcastle came out of the blocks quickly, with Aleksander Mitrovic heading wide after Chris Maxwell had misjudged a bouncing ball in the box and allowed the Newcastle man to get past him.
Mitrovic's curling shot from the edge of the box got a slight deflection to take it behind for a corner, it being from the flag kick that the Magpies took the lead.
Ritchie curled the corner in left-footed from the right, the ball dropping across to the far post where Perez knocked it over the line from inside the six-yard box.
You feared North End might be in for a long night but they responded positively and should have been level within four minutes when Gallagher's reverse pass sent Johnson clear on goal.
DJ ran into the box but put his shot too close to goalkeeper Rob Elliott who blocked with his legs, the ball going out for a corner.
The corner which followed was played short, Barkhuizen's cross met by Paul Huntington who sent a header too high.
PNE levelled in the 14th minute, breaking superbly on the counter-attack.
The ball was cleared out of their box, Hugill controlling it on the half-way line and turning it out to Barkhuizen on the left.
Barkhuizen powered forward, switching the ball on to his right foot and sending over a fine cross into the box which Hugill met 12 yards out, flicking it his right foot to guide it across Elliott and into the net.
In the 25th minute, a big goal kick from Maxwell was chased by Barkhuizen down the right channel, the former Morecambe man reaching it ahead of Ciaran Clark but blazed a shot high over the bar.
North End had a great spell of play where they kept possession well and had the natives restless, a few boos even coming down from the home stands.
But on the stroke of half-time and against the run of play, Newcastle capitalised on a mistake in midfield to go in front again.
Johnson and McGeady ran into each other in midfield, Isaac Hayden collecting possession and feeding a pass up to Mitrovic.
The Serbian striker squared a pass inside to Atsu who stroked a low first-time finish past Maxwell from 12 yards.
Less than a minute into the second half, poor defending on the edge of the PNE box saw the ball break through to Perez, the Spaniard's shot well saved by Maxwell who spread himself to block.
Alan Browne's cross field pass sent Barkhuizen racing away down the left in the 55th minute but he put too much on the cross and the ball evaded everyone on the box.
Two goals - and a sending-off - in the space of three minutes saw the game go away from North End.
In the 64th minute, Maxwell pulled off a fine save to push out an overhead kick from Perez, Hayden's follow-up on its way in until Gallagher dived on the line and pushed it out two-handed.
The inevitable red card came out of referee Andrew Madley's pocket for Gallagher and once he had disappeared down the tunnel, Ritchie put the penalty away.
North End conceded the fourth goal quickly and in bizarre circumstances, Jonjo Shelvey's corner from the left staying low and travelling across the box.
The ball hit the inside of the far post and bounced up against Perez - who knew nothing about it - and went into the net.
Newcastle: Elliott, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (Colback 76), Hayden, Atsu (Gouffran 68), Perez (Murphy 83), Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Diame, Mbemba, Yedlin, Darlow.
PNE: Maxwell, Browning, Huntington, Boyle, Spurr, Gallagher, Browne, Johnson, Barkhuizen, McGeady (Horgan 72), Hugill. Subs (not used): Vermijl, Beckford, Pringle, May, Robinson, Lindegaard.
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)