Preston North End 3 Sunderland 2
Preston took the lead in the 12 minute when Jeff Whitley had handballed after a Richard Creswell run. Eddie Lewis fired over a 25-yard free-kick left-footed from the left-hand side and Brian O'Neil looked to have slid the ball home before Cresswell from one yard out, shot into the bottom right.
Cresswell made it 2-0 when Dean Whitehead gave the ball away and Patrick Agyemang passed from in his own half to the former York City forward, who ran through and scored right-footed from 15 yards into the middle of the net.
Cresswell completed a first half hat-trick after 42 minutes when Preston manager Billy Davies ushered his players on from the touchline, Chris Sedgwick passed to Lewis who flicked the ball up and Cresswell scored right-footed from ten yards in off the right-hand post for his 15th goal of the season.
Whitehead saw a shot fly wide of the right-hand post after 50 minutes and Sedgwick was booked for foul on Sean Thornton.
Stephen Elliott made it 3-1 after 72 minutes when substitute Andy Welsh passed to him and he hit a 15-yard right-foot curler into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Lilywhites defender Claude Davis was booked for a foul on Chris Brown with 12 minutes to go.
Andy Lonergan saved a 25-yard free-kick from Thornton but then Thornton made it 3-2 after a pass from Stephen Wright, shooting left-footed into the bottom left-hand corner of the net form 15 yards.
However, Preston hung on for the victory.