Preston North End 2 Hull City 1 - Match report from Deepdale as Lilywhites hit back to claim vital victory
Second-half goals from Paul Gallagher and Alan Browne saw Preston North End come from behind to beat Hull City at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites had put in a turgid performance in the opening 45 minutes, falling behind to a close-range header from Mallik Wilks five minutes before the interval.
Whatever was said at half-time by Alex Neil, combined with two inspiration substitutions, turned the tide in North End's favour.
Gallagher equalised from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, Darnell Fisher having been fouled in the box.
Then substitutes Jayden Stockley and Browne combined to put North End in front less than four minutes later - they had been introduced in a double change shortly before the penalty.
Stockley was the provider, lifting a fine cross into the middle for Brown to rise above his marker and head home what proved to be the winner.
Victory kept them in sixth place but closed the gap on Brentford and Nottingham Forest above them to just goal difference.
And they now have a three-point gap over seventh-placed Bristol City
PNE manager Neil had made four changes to the side beaten by Millwall last week.
Darnell Fisher, Josh Harrop, Gallagher and Sean Maguire came into the side, Tom Clarke, Browne, David Nugent and the injured Daniel Johnson dropping out.
The first half was scrappy and low on quality, the better of the early play enjoyed by Hull.
A low 20 yard shot on the turn from Wilks was saved comfortably by Declan Rudd diving to his left, the winger later blazing a shot high over the bar.
In the 24th minute, Wilks got the better of Ben Pearson to the right of goal, Ben Davies getting back to deflect the resulting shot behind for a corner.
North End's first chance of real note came in the 25th minute, Gallagher'c right-footed cross from the left-wing finding Maguire who guided a header across goal and just wide of the far post.
They went close again when Maguire's cross from the left channel into the middle came the way of Tom Barkhuizen - by now switched inside from the right-wing.
Slightly under the ball, Barkhuizen looped a header goalwards which Tigers goalkeeper George Long sprang backwards to knock up into the air, Barkhuizen's follow-up effort going over the bar.
Hull took the lead five minutes before half-time, a corner on the left worked short to Callum Elder who crossed into the middle where an unmarked Wilks had the simple task to head home from three yards.
North End should have levelled in the 55th minute, Gallagher's diagonal ball from left to right picking out the run of Fisher down the right-hand side of the box.
Fisher brought it under control and seemed to be cleaned out by the keeper as he squared it across the six-yard box.
The ball ran into the path of Maguire, it struck him on the thigh and bounced goalwards but Reece Burke got back to clear off the line.
Just after that, Neil made a double substitution - Stockley and Browne replacing Scott Sinclair and Maguire.
PNE equalised from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, referee Stephen Martin pointing to the spot after Fisher went to ground when sandwiched by two Hull defenders.
To be fair, Browne had been denied a more clear penalty moments earlier when he looked to have been tripped, Fisher gaining possession in the same passage of play.
Gallagher stepped up and hammered the spot kick right-footed past Long - no nonsense from the skipper.
Within three minutes of the penalty going in, North End found the net a second time to go in front.
Stockley won possession outside the box and took it down the left channel before lifting a lovely cross into the middle where Browne jumped and hung in the air to head home.
In the 90th minute, Hull substitute Norbert Balogh met a cross from the right-wing but lifted a first-time shot high over the bar.
Referee Martin added on seven minutes of stoppage-time, a lot of it for when Tom Eaves had to be stretchered off earlier in the half after a collision with Davies.
In the fourth minute of time added on, Harrop was tripped just outside the box by Jordy De Wijs to win a free-kick.
Harrop took it himself, lifting it right-footed over the wall and forcing Long to tip over.
PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Potts 89), Barkhuizen, Harrop, Sinclair (Stockley 58), Maguire (Browne 58). Subs (not used): Clarke, Rafferty, Nugent, Ripley.
Hull: Long, Pennington, de Wijs, Burke, Elder (Maddison 90), Irvine, Lopes, Wilks, Honeyman (Balogh 77), Magennis, Eaves (Toral 63) Subs (not used): Stewart, McKenzie, McLoughlin, Ingram.
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)
Attendance: 12,342 (721 away)