Danny Dichio scored his first league goal for Preston as they hammered his former team Sunderland at Deepdale.
Dichio blocked a goalbound Daryl Murphy effort before he nodded in a Graham Alexander cross to put Preston ahead.
Alexander scored from the spot after Nyron Nosworthy fouled Simon Whaley and then Dean Whitehead put through his own net following a David Nugent centre.
Nugent hit the bar before Whaley's 20-yarder was deflected in, with Stanislav Varga heading a consolation.
Preston boss Paul Simpson on Dichio:
"He's worked hard. He's been ill for the last couple of days and we expected Patrick Agyemang to be fit, but Danny had to play instead.
"He was sick at half-time but it tells you what he's about that he got through the 90 minutes and worked hard.
"I'm sure his first league goal for us will be a big relief for him."
Sunderland manager Roy Keane:
"The second goal was vital and it was a crazy spell from us.
"They might say they took their foot off the gas at 4-0 and we created one or two chances, but the 4-1 scoreline is still maybe a little harsh on us.
"I was disappointed with the goals but they were honest mistakes and I can't fault the players for effort. At the moment, we're easy to score against."
Preston: Nash, Alexander, St. Ledger, Chilvers, Hill, Sedgwick, McKenna, Pugh (Davidson 79), Whaley (Neal 74), Nugent (Ormerod 70), Dichio.
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Wilson.
Goals: Dichio 18, Alexander 31 pen, Whitehead 35 og, Whaley 55.
Sunderland: Alnwick, Nosworthy, Varga, Danny Collins, Clarke, Lawrence, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Hysen (Wallace 52), Murphy (Yorke 62), Connolly.
Subs Not Used: Ward, Brown, Neill Collins.
Booked: Nosworthy, Varga, Wallace.
Goals: Varga 56.
Ref: M Jones (Cheshire).