Ben Brereton Diaz’s 17th Championship goal of the season clinched victory for Blackburn over Preston in the Lancashire derby as they moved up to fourth in the table.
Both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances on a rain-soaked pitch at Ewood Park.
But Brereton Diaz struck eight minutes into the second half when he headed home from Reda Khadra’s cross.
It was the striker’s fourth goal in as many matches and Blackburn have now won four of their past five games.
Preston were unable to find an equaliser but will feel they should have been awarded a penalty when Ryan Nyambe appeared to handle the ball in the area.
At the other end, goalkeeper Daniel Iversen produced a fine save to prevent Brereton Diaz adding a second.
The win boosted Rovers’ promotion bid, leaving them seven points behind second-placed Bournemouth.
They have responded superbly to a humiliating 7-0 home defeat at home against leaders Fulham, taking 12 points from a possible 15 in their five matches since that debacle.
Preston recently drew with Fulham and beat Bournemouth, but they have been inconsistent this season and this defeat leaves them in 18th place.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray told BBC Sport Lancashire:
“The ball was getting stuck on the pitch all the time. Our team talk was ‘Let’s not take any chances, not play any square balls – let’s just put it behind them.’
“So it’s not a very nice game of football. It’s not conducive to what we try and do.
“As a derby, with the rain and the pitch like that, there was blood and thunder. There was a lot of challenges and competition for the ball.
“It wasn’t a purist’s day but it was a day to try and win a game of football. Thankfully I’m sitting here and we’ve won. We’ll put the points in the bag and move on.”
Preston manager Frankie McAvoy told BBC Sport Lancashire:
“It’s too cheap for us to allow the cross into the box. We had spoke about making sure you don’t allow Diaz or anybody to get across the front of you for a header.
“We worked really hard on that to make sure it did not happen, but unfortunately he gets across and it’s a great header from him.
“I didn’t think there was much between the two teams at all. We probably had more of the ball.
“I’ve seen the penalty claim back myself. It looks like a penalty kick. The guy’s hands are away from his body. I think that wee bit of luck evaded us.”
- 26LenihanBooked at 16mins
- 25van HeckeBooked at 65mins
- 27TravisBooked at 68mins
- 8RothwellSubstituted forEdunat 85′minutes
- 21BuckleySubstituted forJohnsonat 66′minutes
- 7KhadraSubstituted forDolanat 76′minutes
- 3CunninghamSubstituted forSinclairat 78′minutes
- 22OlosundeSubstituted forLedsonat 82′minutes
- 13McCannSubstituted forJohnsonat 78′minutes
- 9EvansBooked at 83mins
- 19Riis JakobsenBooked at 65mins
- Gavin Ward
Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Preston North End 0.
Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Preston North End 0.
Offside, Blackburn Rovers. Bradley Johnson tries a through ball, but Ben Brereton is caught offside.
Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Tayo Edun (Blackburn Rovers).
Attempt blocked. Liam Lindsay (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Bradley Johnson (Blackburn Rovers).
Attempt missed. Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.
Attempt saved. Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Harry Pickering.
Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Tayo Edun replaces Joe Rothwell.
Foul by Liam Lindsay (Preston North End).
Tyrhys Dolan (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ched Evans (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Joshua Earl (Preston North End).
Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joshua Earl.
Substitution, Preston North End. Ryan Ledson replaces Matthew Olosunde because of an injury.
Substitution, Preston North End. Daniel Johnson replaces Alistair McCann.
Substitution, Preston North End. Scott Sinclair replaces Greg Cunningham.