Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom saluted his gutsy team after they completed a first away-day victory since returning to the Sky Bet Championship.
The Reds sit in third place in the table after Sam Winnall - with his first goal of the season - and debut boy Adam Armstrong scored for the visitors at Preston.
Heckingbottom said: “We had to withstand a real onslaught from Preston.
“They threw everything at us in the opening 20 or 25 minutes of the second half.
“It was the doggedness, the resilience and organisation of the team that carried us through that spell.
“We made the change to go to three in the middle to try and get control of the ball, and we earned the right to play a bit more football.”
Winnall - who scored 24 times during the 2015-16 promotion campaign - bagged his first of this term when he slid home Marley Watkins’ cross.
Aiden McGeady levelled on his debut for North End at Deepdale, but Armstrong cracked home a superb winner with 11 minutes left.
Teenage talent Armstrong showed Newcastle fans what they might be missing as he scored a breathtaking debut goal to win the game.
Armstrong, aged 19, has started only one game for parent club so far, so he opted to join the Reds on loan until January after scoring 20 goals in 40 games for Coventry City on loan last term.
Armstrong curled home the Reds’ winner brilliantly after latching on to a pinpoint through-ball from Conor Hourihane.
“I don’t think I could have started better than that,” the teenager admitted.
Preston: Lindegaard 7, Vermijl 5, Baptiste 7, Clarke 6, Cunningham 7, Spurr 5 (Hugill 60, 6), Gallagher 7 (Johnson, 77, 6), Welsh 6, Robinson 7, McGeady 7, Doyle 5 (Makienok, 82, 5). Subs not used: Maxwell, Browne, Pringle, Huntington.
Barnsley: Davies 8, Yiadom 6, Roberts 7, MacDonald 8, White 6, Kent 6, Scowen 7, Hourihane 8, Hammill 6, Winnall 7, Watkins 8. Subs: Armstrong (for Kent, 62, 7), Morsy (for Winnall, 65, 6), Kpekawa (for Hammill, 90). Subs not used: Townsend, Lee, Jackson, Bradshaw.
Ref: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham) 7.