Blackpool's Wesley Hoolahan held his nerve to notch the penalty to give his side victory over fellow strugglers Preston in a pulsating derby.
Preston made the early running, but found Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka in fine form as he kept out efforts from Callum Davidson and Paul McKenna.
An end-to-end match finally found a goal when Youl Mawene's foul allowed Hoolahan to score from the spot.
McKenna's injury-time free-kick almost rescued a point, but he hit the bar.
Preston boss Alan Irvine, on the referee's decision to award a free-kick rather than a penalty after Neil Mellor was brought down by Kaspars Gorkss:
"I think it was the right decision to give Blackpool the penalty and I think the free-kick incident was a couple of yards inside the box.
"Everybody wants a break and some good luck and we didn't get any.
"Blackpool had their moments but we did as well, and as the second half wore on I felt we deserved something."
Blackpool boss Simon Grayson:
"Both teams went for it and created chances, and sometimes when it's close like that, things can hinge on a decision or two.
"It's taken us five points clear of Preston and dragged one or two other teams back into it.
"It was always going to be a close encounter and we defended well."
Preston: Lonergan, Hill, Mawene (Jones 79), St. Ledger, Chilvers, Davidson (Mellor 79), Whaley, McKenna, Sedgwick (Lewis Neal 69), Agyemang, Gallagher.
Subs Not Used: Chris Neal, Carter.
Booked: Mawene, Sedgwick, Jones, McKenna.
Blackpool: Rachubka, Crainey, Jackson (Evatt 65), Gorkss, Barker, Hoolahan (Welsh 90), Jorgensen, Flynn, Taylor-Fletcher (Parker 74), Morrell, Burgess.
Subs Not Used: Vernon, Fox.
Booked: Gorkss, Evatt.
Goals: Hoolahan 68 pen.
Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).