By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
Super sub Marnick Vermijl scored a late winner to snatch all three points against Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
Liam Trotter put Wanderers in front, guiding the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box in the 22nd minute.
Jordan Hugill nodded North End level, latching onto Adam Reach’s cross before directing the ball past Bolton goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, 12 minutes into the second half.
Vermijl tucked in the winner three minutes from time, receiving the ball inside the box before firing into the back of the net from close range.
PNE manager Simon Grayson made two changes from the side which lost at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Ben Pearson was replaced by Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill came in for Joe Garner, who was serving the 1st of a two-game ban, after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season at the City Ground.
Defender Paul Huntington played no part in the match after he picked up a knock.
PNE almost went ahead in the 1st minute, Hugill heading the ball narrowly over the crossbar.
At the other end, Zach Clough spurned a great opportunity for the hosts, heading the ball straight at Preston goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard after latching onto Liam Feeney’s cross.
The hosts went ahead when Trotter received the ball just outside the box before placing the ball into the bottom corner.
Gary Madine wasted a good chance to double Bolton’s lead early in the second half, heading Feeney’s cross wide of the target.
North End were back on level terms just before the hour mark, Hugill diverting Reach’s cross beyond Rachubka from inside the box.
Mark Davies immediately looked to restore Bolton’s lead, hitting an arrowing strike straight at Lindegaard from the edge of the box.
A few minutes later, Rachubka could only parry Paul Gallagher’s shot from distance before Rob Holding averted the danger and cleared the ball.
Trotter almost doubled his tally for the afternoon, latching onto Feeney’s corner but his header was gathered comfortably by Lindegaard.
Clough then attempted to pull Bolton in front, his curling effort also failing to trouble Lindegaard.
Vermijl sealed all three points for the visitors, unleashing a fierce shot from close range to give PNE a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute.
Substitute Eoin Doyle thought he had added a third, putting the ball into the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside.
After the match, Grayson said he was delighted to claim three points on Gentry Day, commending the fans for contributing to a brilliant atmosphere.
He added that North End still have a lot to play for between now and the end of the season.
Bolton Wanderers: Rachubka, Wilson (Dobbie, 88), Holding, Derik, Moxey, Davies, Trotter, Pratley (Wellington, 69), Feeney, Madine and Clough (Woolery, 84). Subs not used: Campbell, Vela, Danns and Finney.
PNE: Lindegaard, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Woods, Reach, Gallagher (Welsh, 91), Pearson, Johnson (Vermijl, 77), Robinson and Hugill (Doyle, 84). Subs not used: Kirkland, Smith and Kilkenny.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
Attendance: 18,423 (4,432 PNE fans)