OVER 3,000 Huddersfield Town fans had every right to leave Deepdale disappointed after the Terriers’ seven-match unbeaten run ended with a whimper.
Preston maintained the pressure at the top as Jayden Stockley headed his first of the season as he reacted quickest to a free-kick, before Alan Browne doubled the lead.
Paul Gallagher sealed the victory after the break by converting from the spot, with Juninho Bacuna pulling one back for a disappointing Huddersfield.
Town midfield player Lewis O’Brien admitted: “I think we let ourselves down. We didn’t do the things we had been doing the last seven or eight games. We didn’t work hard enough, we didn’t fight, we let ourselves down massively and we let the fans down as well.
“We didn’t really get going. We needed to clear our minds and go again but obviously it’s very hard to do that.
“You have to try and work harder than them but, unfortunately, none of us did that. We got out-worked, out-fought, they’re the basics you need to win games and we didn’t do them – we’re very disappointed.”
The hosts were in confident mood right from kick off and Stockley handed them a deserved lead after just four minutes.
Browne doubled their advantage 10 minutes before the break. The Republic of Ireland international kept his composure to fire home Tom Barkuizen’s cross from a tight angle.
They only had to wait five minutes into the second half to put the game to bed as Gallagher confidently fired home from the penalty spot, following a handball by Terence Kongolo.
Bacuna showed real power to burst through two Preston tackles in midfield, and with the hosts’ defence backing off, he powered an effort home from the edge of the area on 74 minutes.
Town got on top after making it 3-1 but O’Brien added: “We could have played like that the whole game, we should have played like that the whole game.
“It’s frustrating to play like that in the last 15 because then you know you could have played like that the whole game.”
Town chief Danny Cowley said: “The result is difficult to take, but I simply do not think we started well enough.”
Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty, Ledson, Gallagher (Potts 72), Barkhuizen, Browne, Maguire, Stockley (Nugent 76). Unused substitutes: Bayliss, Storey, Ginnelly, Ripley, Bodin.
Huddersfield Town: Grabara, Simpson (Pritchard 65), Elphick (Stankovic 22), Schindler, Kongolo, Bacuna, Chalobah, Kachunga, O’Brien, Diakhaby (Mounie 59), Ahearne-Grant. Unused substitutes: Koroma, Schofield, Hadergjonaj, Harratt.
Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).