Ryan Lowe had to navigate through the FA Cup Third Round with a changed line up due to numeous injuries. O'Neill was given a start up front as Preston are in the midst of a strike shortage.
Some positive news was that Robbie Brady came on as a substitute late on which will be a boost as the league programme resumes at the weekend.
Both teams are familar with each other and neither wanted a replay. The first half had little goalmouth action but Preston had the better of the play. The one contentious point was Ayina fo Huddersfield who should have been sent off for a second bookable offence after bringing down Woodburn.
The referee bottled out of making the decision despite it being a clear yellow card. Ayina was then substituted moments later to avoid any risk. The game then changed after the break.
The visitors somewhat surprisingly took the lead in the second period. Kamberi fired home from close range and it seemed like Huddersfield would repeat their Boxing Day win at Deepdale.
North End were level in moments when a Woodburn cross ended up in the net after Lees could only put the ball into his own goal. The game then became very open with neither side wanting to meet again in a replay.
Diaby was the unlikely scorer as the ball fell for him in the box. He turned and smashed home to give Preston the lead. Browne then added a third to give Peston the victory.
North End will go into the hat for the Fourth Round draw but improvement will be needed if they are to salavge something from the league season.