Callum Robinson was delighted to end his wait for a goal as Preston closed on the Championship play-off places with victory at Sunderland.
The versatile forward hadn’t scored since the 1-1 draw at Millwall on January 13 but his fifth of the season completed the 2-0 win for Alex Neil’s men at the Stadium of Light.
Sean Maguire put PNE in front on 50 minutes with Robinson heading home Tom Barkhuizen’s cross three minutes after Jake Clarke-Salter had been sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour.
“I went quite a long time without getting a goal,” Robinson admitted.
“I missed a few earlier on in the half too so it was good to get back on the scoresheet.
“Me and Tom have a little bit of banter because it seems like I set him up and he sets me up and I’m really happy he put a great ball in and I finished it off.”
Neil’s side proved too hot to handle in the second half as they swept aside the Championship’s basement boys efficiently to move within two points of the top six.
It came after a tactical switch at half-time saw Robinson and Maguire swap positions with the former going through the middle and the latter playing from the left.
“In the first half I was stretching the ball out wide but I tend to come in and want to be involved on the ball and I felt like I was being more of a threat coming into little pockets.
“The gaffer must have seen that and he put me up top.
“I come off defenders and I’m a different type of number nine to Seani.
“We threatened a few times before we got the first goal and it was a great ball from Gally for Seani at the back post.
“It was just a little tweak which helped us get the three points.”
It was a largely professional display from the visitors, the only frustration for both manager and players being that the winning margin wasn’t greater.
“I think we played well throughout to be honest,” Robinson said.
“It was another good away performance again.
“It was just that little bit of finishing in the final third that meant we didn’t get a few more goals.
“But the main thing was to come here, get three points and now we move on.”