This was very much the classic game of two contrasting halves, Rovers 2-0 to the good inside the first 11 minutes and seemingly cruising towards derby glory.
North End had other ideas, scoring three goals in 29 second-half minutes to flip the contest on its head and claim a memorable three points.
Tom Barkhuizen’s 82nd minute winner was worth the admission money alone, the winger guiding a finish of the highest quality into the top corner of the net.
It had been Barkhuizen who had started off PNE’s fightback early in the second half with a close-range header.
Daniel Johnson equalised from the penalty spot after a foul on Alan Browne, before Barkhuizen brought the house down with their third goal.
Although he didn’t feature on the scoresheet, Jayden Stockley was a central figure in North End’s victory.
The centre forward was summoned into action from the bench after just half an hour, Paul Gallagher sacrificed for a more direct approach in trying to unlock the Rovers defence. Gallagher hadn’t been any worse than any of his team-mates, it more a positional change and switch of approach.
Stockley’s introduction worked a treat, unsettling the visitors to the extent they crumbled in the second half.
North End couldn’t have made a poorer start, just a minute on the clock when Adam Armstrong’s cross from the right was met by Sam Gallagher.
His header struck the post and bounced into the net off goalkeeper Declan Rudd’s back.
That went down as a Rudd own goal but Gallagher got his name on the scoresheet in the 11th minute when curling a shot into the net after Andrew Hughes’ block from a Bradley Dack pass had fallen to him.
Stockley came on as PNE boss Alex Neil sought to shake things up. The substitute’s impact wasn’t immediate but as the game went on, he became more and more of a presence.
North End reduced the arrears in the 53rd minute, Darnell Fisher’s deep cross met by Sean Maguire beyond the far post. Maguire got the better of the goalkeeper to nod it back into the middle where Barkhuizen headed home.
The equaliser came 12 minutes later, Browne seizing on a sliced clearance from Derrick Williams to break forward into the box where he was brought down by Rovers skipper Elliott Bennett.
There was a gap of almost two minutes between the award of the penalty and it being taken, Johnson rolling the spot kick with an air of calmness into the bottom left corner.
Deepdale was anything but calm as the winner went in with eight minutes left.
Rudd’s goalkick was met in the air by Stockley who chested down and laid it off to Browne.
He rolled a pass into the path of Barkhuizen on the left hand side of the box who opened up his body and curled home a delightful first-time finish with his right-foot to send three sides of Deepdale wild.