A hat-trick from Jermaine Beckford set the platform for the Lilywhites to dash Town’s hopes of a return to the second tier of English football for the first time in 15 years
Nathan Thompson was recalled to the starting line-up while there were also places in the XI for Harry Toffolo and Jon Obika. Louis Thompson was handed a place amongst the substitutes.
The game was just two minutes old when Preston took the lead. A free-kick from the left was whipped across for Jermaine Beckford to tap home from close range. Town were dealt a double blow with skipper Nathan Thompson being forced off with an injury as a result of a challenge in the build-up to the goal.
In the 13th minute, the Lilywhites doubled their lead through Paul Huntington. Another cross from the left was converted this time by the arriving Huntington from inside the six yard box.
Despite the setback, Town worked their way back into proceedings. Jack Stephens strode forward out of defence and saw his shot deflected over.
The best chance of the half came through Michael Smith. Nathan Byrne’s trickery on the right manufactured a crossing opportunity. His ball in was met by Smith who steered a header narrowly wide of goal.
Seconds later, Preston had made it three. Beckford was, again, the scorer, cutting inside Jordan Turnbull on the edge of the box before curling an effort inside the far post.
At the start of the second half, despite Town’s early pressure, it was Foderingham who kept the scoreline as it was, denying Beckford a third. Through one-on-one, the Town stopper reacted superbly to get down to the striker’s effort and turn it behind for a corner.
Just short of the hour mark, the Lilywhites added a fourth to their tally. Beckford found himself through on goal once again and this time, got the better of Foderingham to slot in his hat-trick.
At the other end, the closest Town came to reducing the deficit was through Jon Obika, whose neat flick-on had Johnstone sprawling across to his right to paw the ball away. Jordan Turnbull also forced the Preston stopper into a fine save with a thunderous swerving shot from distance.