Jon Parkin proved too hot to handle for Charlton as Preston moved into second spot in the Championship.
The striker nicknamed "The Beast", signed as an emergency loan from Stoke City, only met his new team-mates as they turned up in the dressing room before the game. Now expect it to become a permanent move today. Alan Pardew, the Charlton manager, said: "He really affected the game. When he is on his day he is really good. It was always going to be a day for him, making his debut. He linked things up really well. He was a problem for us."
Having seen Charlton pull off a 4-2 win against Reading last weekend and surrender the lead at Deepdale, Pardew said: "When we got the goal I felt that, at that point, we didn't push.
"There were a few players who, I am afraid, have to look at themselves tonight. We were second best in a lot of areas, especially in midfield. We just could not stop the stream of attacks. This game could have been 6-5."
Pardew admitted he was looking to make a signing to add to his defence, saying: "There is one more name I am hoping to get in before the transfer window shuts, but I am not going to disclose it for fear of competition."
The Preston manager, Alan Irvine also had a special word of praise, for Parkin. "A lot of people look at him and think he is a great big lad and just up there to compete for balls," Irvine said. "Everybody will have seen now the quality he has got."
Charlton had gained an early penalty through a needless challenge by Youl Mawene on Luke Varney. Andy Gray converted the 19th-minute spot-kick. Neil Mellor was then rewarded for his persistence just before the hour following a hatful of near-misses. He met a Chris Sedgwick cross and, though his header was blocked, he managed to poke home an equaliser in the six-yard area.
Victory was sealed for Preston in the 66th minute when Parkin headed towards goal and Barry Nicholson was there to stab the ball in.
Goals: Gray pen (19) 0-1; Mellor (58) 1-1; Nicholson (66) 2-1.
Preston North End (4-4-2): Lonergan; Jones, Mawene, St. Ledger, Hart; Nicholson, Chaplow, McKenna (Carter, 78), Sedgwick (Whaley, 89); Parkin, Mellor (Hawley, 89). Substitutes not used: C Neal (gk), Wallace.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Weaver; Moutaouakil (Youga, 60), Hudson, Fortune, Basey (Dickson, 78); Shelvey (Ambrose, h-t), Bailey, Holland, Bouazza; Varney, Gray. Substitutes not used: Elliot (gk), Semedo.
Referee: C Oliver (Northumberland).
Booked: Preston Mawene, Hart; Charlton Ambrose, Bailey.
Man of the match: Parkin.