North End made the difficult trip to Middlesbrough who were sitting comfortably in the play off positions. The game could have been very different but Preston took all three points to narrow the gap to the top six.
Middlesbrough were on top in the first half with Preston all at sea. A change of formation and personnel meant Preston were noweher near their recent competitive best.
The visitors lined up as a back three with Earl pressed into being a right wing back. The changes did not work and Preston were lucky to be down by only one at the break to a deflected Flecther goal.
Preston hung on and the game changed when Ayala was sent off after an hour for a two footed challenge. Gallagher scored from the resulting free kick with his 100th career goal.
Barker, on as a substitute, was having a significant influence on the game and was invovled in the goal as Stockley applied the finishing touch to give Preston all three points.
Preston have not dropped points away from home since 1 January. The current run is impressive and the best for some time. North End sit two points off Derby in sixth place and have also closed the gap on fifth placed Middlesbrough.