STANLEY suffered their second defeat to a Coca Cola Championside as Preston's Brian O'Neil celebrated the winner on Tuesday night.
The Scottish international was unmarked in the area as he leapt high to head home a Callum Davidson cross on 22 minutes to see off the Reds.
But it was a better show from Stanley than the Cardiff game as Danny Alcock pulled off some good saves and Gary Roberts and Ian Craney both looked menacing when the Reds charged forward.
Manager John Coleman included left back Ian Latham, a triallist from Chester, in the starting line-up and former Tranmere and Rushden striker Alex Hay partnered Paul Mullin up front.
"A few of the trialists did all right, like Alex Hay and Ian Latham," said assistant boss Jimmy Bell, who expects to make a decision on the these over the next few weeks.
North End, who just missed out on promotion to the Premiership in the play-offs last season, had a strong line-up despite playing Lancaster on the same night with former Clitheroe keeper Carlo Nash in goal, ex-Bury defender Chris Lucketti in the side as well as prolific forward Richard Cresswell.
And the latter tested Alcock, in his first game of the season, early on with a fierce drive which the keeper did well to push out.
It was one-way traffic before the Reds started to find their feet with Mullin flicking a neat ball through to Hay which Nash just got there first to.
Hay couldn't make proper contact with another effort while Eric Skorer, Davidson and Cresswell all tried their luck for Preston.
Billy Davies' side made wholesale changes after the break while Coleman brought on several subs during the second half - Matt O'Neill, Anthony Barry, Paul Cook, triallist Jamie Milligan, Robbie Williams, Chris Butler and ex-Bury keeper Peter Collinge.
All strove to make their impression but it was Craney who came the closest, testing Nash with a number of shots which the goalie had to dive low to keep out.
Hay continued to be a threat, but headed straight into Nash's hands from close range while North End's inexperienced second half side didn't trouble the Reds defence too much.
Bell added: "It was a good performance. I think we gave Preston a bit too much respect in the first five or 10 minutes, but after that we were much more comfortable on the ball and we got better as the game went on.
"I thought we should have definitely got something from the game.
"The lads are using the games for fitness and they are warming to the task."