PNE 3-2 Fleetwood TownFleetwood Town let a two goal lead slip at Deepdale this afternoon as Preston North End came from behind to beat the Cod Army in an entertaining Lancashire derby.
Stephen Jordan gave Town the perfect start with a powerful header after only a minute, while Josh Morris extended the lead soon after with a close range finish.
Joe Garner, North End’s top scorer so far this season, responded with two quick-fire goals in the second half to bring his side level.
And it was Garner who netted the winner with 13 minutes left to play as he completed his hat-trick.
Graham Alexander made three changes to the side that lost in Buckinghamshire to MK Dons on Tuesday evening.
Jeff Hughes was handed his first start of the season after recovering from injury, while Antoni Sarcevic and Jamie Proctor were both recalled, with the latter returning to Deepdale.
Missing out were Stephen Dobbie and Liam McAlinden, while David Ball nursed an injury as Alexander opted with the lone striker.
Fleetwood got off to the best possible start and were ahead after just a minute’s play; Jordan rising highest to head beyond keeper Jamie Jones from Morris’ corner.
Town continued to force the initiative, Proctor doing well to dispossess his defender and cross for Josh Morris who saw his effort blocked.
Things were to get even better for the Cod Army five minutes after Jordan’s opener, when Morris converted Sarcevic’s low cross from inside the six yard area.
For the home side, Jack King beat his marker but headed over, and Paul Gallagher tested keeper Chris Maxwell with a fierce free kick.
Gallagher went close again for the Lilywhites on the half hour mark, unleashing a long range effort which crashed into the side netting.
Clear cut opportunities were at a premium for both sides as the half drew to a close; Joe Garner stretching to volley over at the back post the best chance.
North End manager Simon Grayson made a double substitution at the interval, bringing Kevin Davies and John Welsh on for Kyel Reid and Alan Browne.
Town could have extended their lead on 50 minutes when Morris found himself in on goal, but could only fire straight at Jones.
At the other end, Gallagher floated a cross towards the path of Garner at the back post who headed just over.
Garner made no mistake on the hour though when he directed his header beyond the reach of Maxwell from another Gallagher cross.
The former Nottingham Forest man netted his ninth league goal of the campaign minutes later with another powerful header which beat the Welshman.
For Town, Proctor let fly from distance and shot narrowly wide as they looked to get themselves back in front in what was becoming an entertaining Lancashire derby.
Graham Alexander brought on Matty Blair and Liam McAlinden at the expense of Josh Morris and Antoni Sarcevic as he looked to freshen up his attack.
However, the home side took the lead just shy of the 80th minute when Garner completed his hat-trick with a well taken finish from the edge of the box to win the game for North End.