Preston 1 Brentford 3
Clayton Donaldson scored two of Brentford’s goals as they kept their play-off hopes alive with a resounding victory at Deepdale.
Shaleum Logan opened the scoring before Donaldson’s penalty put them firmly in command.
Paul Parry pulled a goal back for Preston with a penalty three minutes before the break, but Donaldson struck again in the second half to seal Brentford’s sixth away league win of the season.
Bees boss Uwe Rosler sprang a surprise by deploying Logan, who usually operates as a right-back, in a wide midfield role and Sam Saunders slightly behind lone striker Donaldson.
It totally outfoxed North End, who found themselves two down within 22 minutes.
First, Harry Forrester reacted quickly after Donaldson’s shot was saved, crossing for Logan to head home at the far post.
Donaldson then doubled the lead by netting from the spot after Daniel Devine had brought him down in the box.
Devine was hauled off as Preston boss Graham Westley made a first-half change to try and stem the flow.
It had the desired effect and the hosts were given hope by Parry’s penalty following Harlee Dean’s foul on Graham Cummins.
But Brentford looked comfortable after the interval and their two-goal cushion was restored when Donaldson headed in Jonathan Douglas’ cross.
Niall McGinn missed a late chance to add a fourth for Rosler’s men, whose win leaves them in ninth spot – eight points behind sixth-placed Carlisle.