On November 24 2018 Rovers were humbled 4-1 at Deepdale.

In among the disappointment was an incorrect offside decision that denied Ben Brereton his first Rovers goal, the attacker having to wait a further five months to get that monkey off his back.

But two years on, as Rovers finally ended their North End curse, Brereton was on the scoresheet, and more than that, has developed into a key member of this team, and starting to look a real force.

The 21-year-old now has three for the season, and his 13 consecutive starts this season are more than he’d made in his previous two at the club.

There have been many false daws previously, and he is still someway short of being the finished article, it now feels as though we’re starting to see the play the club invested £6m on some two years ago.

His goal, eight minutes into the second half, effectively killed off the game, with Rovers having opened the scoring from the penalty spot as the hosts were reduced to 10 men.

And just as the game was beginning to drift, Brereton provided a moment to savour for Tyrhys Dolan against his former club, as he squared for the winger to tap home just moments after coming on.

The win saw Rovers back into the top half, and above their hosts, who had no answer even when the numbers were equal.  

Rovers settled quickly into their passing stride, Preston not touching the ball in the Rovers defensive third for the opening quarter, as the visitors started with a purpose.

The hosts were happy enough to sit in their shape and have Rovers play infront of them, the main space coming for Ryan Nyambe on the right flank.

He was overlooked by Ben Brereton, as he drifted across the edge of the area before dragging a shot wide of the far post, but was proving to be a good outlet.

His 18th minute throw-in led to a foul on Brereton, from which the games first chance came. Darragh Lenihan was found at the back post, his shot on the turn palmed away by Declan Rudd, with Paul Huntington throwing himself infront of Adam Armstrong’s follow-up after the Rovers striker took a touch to steady himself.

Armstrong looked in the mood for goals, as the Preston backline continued to throw themselves in the way of his shots. He had a clear sight of goal 10 minutes before the break, Rovers working the ball neatly up the pitch to present a shooting opportunity from 20 yards out, Rudd able to watch it over the bar however.

After another Armstrong shot was blocked moments later, a Rovers corner landed at the feet of Brereton who twisted his way into a shooting position, his effort flashing across the face of goal and narrowly out of reach of the sliding Lenihan.

The goal that Rovers had threatened all half arrived in the final seconds of the half in a game-changing minute. Rovers crowded out Daniel Johnson after he initially escaped unnoticed in the box, only for the visitors to launch a blistering counter-attack. Sam Gallagher proved too quick and strong for Joe Rafferty who hauled him to the floor inside the area.

Referee Tony Harrington had no alternative but to point to the spot, and issue a straight red card to full back Joe Rafferty. Rudd may have guessed which way Armstrong was putting his penalty, but he was never keeping it out, the ball arrowed into the bottom corner.

Rovers had enjoyed enough practice against 10 men this season, and the questions that poses, having done so for long spells against Wycombe, Cardiff and Coventry.

The hosts brought on Brad Potts and moved Tom Barkhuizen to left back. He showed his attacking instincts to sound a warning to Rovers six minutes after the re-start, cutting in on his right foot before having a go at goal, Thomas Kaminski watching it wide.

That spell of momentum was shortlived however, Rovers doubling their lead in the 53rd minute, owing much to the driving run of Rothwell to tee up Brereton who found the corner with his shot on the turn.

Rovers were making it an exercise in possession, taking no chances with their one player on a booking, as Trybull was replaced on the hour. So comfortable were Rovers that they were able to play out the final quarter while handing rests to both Armstrong and Holtby.

Gallagher thumped a shot wide of the near post, but that was a rare effort at goal for Rovers who continued to use the ball economically.

When they did move through the gears they cut North End apart, Elliott sliding a ball through for Brereton who crossed for Dolan to score, a great moment for the teenager, released by Preston in the summer.

There was concern before the end for Rovers as loanee Elliott hobbled off, Rovers showed their displeasure at the tackle on him by Ryan Ledson which went unpunished.

Rovers were playing ultimate keepball by the end. The only disappointment; you weren’t here to witness it.