Goals from Michael Jackson, Jonathan Macken and Rob Edwards delivered the 3-0 win in a contest with at times was bad tempered.
The Clarets played more than 50 minutes with 10 men after a red card for Dean West, while PNE skipper Sean Gregan left the pitch on a stretcher inside the first nine minutes after a challenge from Lenny Johnrose.
Three points against their Lancashire rivals and fellow promotion contenders was a huge boost for the Lilywhites and their 4,000 followers who made the trip up the M65.
Jackson headed them in front with just two minutes on the clock, Macken and Edwards then scoring within five minutes of one another as the game entered its last 20 minutes.
Such a heavy home defeat for Burnley wasn’t in their script, the hosts’ starting XI featuring former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright who had been signed a few weeks earlier from Celtic.
North End made the early breakthrough right in front of their travelling fans massed in the Cricket Field Stand.
Mark Rankine won a corner on the left after just 28 seconds and Graham Alexander's inswinger was tipped over the bar by Clarets goalkeeper Crichton.
Edwards took the second flag-kick from the right and found Jackson who twisted round to direct an inch-perfect header beyond the keeper's grasp into the top near-corner.
Gregan was hurt by a tackle from Johnrose which left a deep gash in the captain’s shin, Lee Cartwright coming off the bench to replace him with Edwards shifting inside to Gregan’s midfield role.
Macken had a great chance on 23 minutes to make it 2-0, but he nodded over from 10 yards.
West's dismissal after 38 minutes was in the self-destruct category. Already booked for an 11th-minute tackle on the troublesome Iain Anderson, he went and chopped him down again right in front of referee John Kirkby.
A second yellow was followed by red, leaving Burnley a man down.
North End bossed the game from then on, the surprise being that the game got into the last 20 minutes before they were able to make it safe.
Steve Basham and Anderson had six chances between them but couldn’t get their names on the scoresheet.
It was Anderson who played a big part in PNE’s second goal after 72nd minute, the Scottish winger being played through down the left-wing.
He put in a shot which Crichton managed to save with his arm, the ball came back to him and, with everyone expecting a follow-up, Anderson laid it square for Macken to control before clipping it in.
Six minutes later, it was a romp with Edwards collecting the ball near the centre circle and moving forward before drilling a 25-yard daisy-cutter past Crichton's despairing dive into the bottom right-hand corner.
Even before that goal flew in, the Second Division's biggest crowd of the season - a capacity 22,310 - had thinned out considerably on three sides of the ground.
PNE: Moilanen, Alexander, Jackson, Murdock, Kidd, Anderson (Eyres 76), Gregan (Cartwright 9), Rankine, Edwards, Macken (Angell 85), Basham. Subs (not used): Gunnlaugsson, Lucas.