PNE nearly sent Premier League giants Manchester United crashing out of the FA Cup but surrendered a one goal lead to lose 3-1 at Deepdale.
The sell-out crowd erupted in applause in the seventh minute to celebrate the life of PNE legend Sir Tom Finney who passed away just over a year ago.
United did not have a shot in target in the first 45 and PNE smelt blood, upping the ante at the start of the second half.
North End’s Scott Laird latched on to target man Joe Garner’s pass and the left wing-back’s strike took a deflection off Antonio Valencia before rippling the back of the net to give the host’s a shock lead in the 48th minute.
Simon Grayson’s League One side were underdogs before the FA Cup fifth round clash but despite impressive performances and last ditch tackles by defenders Paul Huntington, Tom Clarke and Bailey Wright they failed to hold on to that early second half league as United proved their premier pedigree.
United fought back as Ander Herrera equalised in the 65th minute. But PNE shot-stopper Thorsten Stuckmann’s vision appeared to be blocked by Wayne Rooney who was occupying an offside position.
Marouane Fellaini took two bites at the cherry to beat Stuckmann and put United ahead. The German keeper blocked the midfielder’s first attempt but Fellaini thundered the rebound into the top corner from close range in the 73rd minute.
And Rooney sealed the tie by winning a controversial penalty late on. The England striker appealed for a foul in the 88th minute after Stuckmann rushed out to meet him and appeared to trip him on the edge of the box.
Referee Phil Dowd immediately pointed to the spot - booking Stuckmann in the process and the Liverpudlian dusted himself down to fire United into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
North End’s 49 year absence from the quarter-finals of the FA Cup continued as they missed out on another glamour tie and United will now face Premier League rivals Arsenal in March.
PNE: Stuckmann, Clarke, Huntington, Wright (Wiseman, 75), Laird, Humphrey, Welsh, Kilkenny (Reid, 75), Gallagher, K. Davies (Robinson, 75), Garner. Subs not used: Hudson, King, Brownhill, Ebanks-Blake.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Rooney, Fellaini, Di Maria, Falcao (Young, 60). Subs not used: Valdes, Evans, Mata, Januzaj, McNair, Wilson
Referee: Phil Dowd (Stafford)