Simon Grayson's Preston North End moved one step closer to Wembley as they secured a 1-0 victory over Notts County in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Area Semi-Final.Paul Huntington netted the decisive goal midway through the first half of a tight contest at Meadow Lane when he nodded in Kyel Reid's 20th-minute corner.
County responded strongly and were desperately close to equalising as Haydn Hollis clipped the crossbar with a header before Huntington then cleared Taylor McKenzie's volley off the line.
Goalkeeper Roy Carroll kept the Magpies in the game just after half-time when he denied Reid at his near post following some neat footwork.
Magpies boss Shaun Derry opted for a tactical switch in formation in a bid to salvage an equaliser, moving from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2.
It almost brought instant dividends when Stephen McLaughlin raced through on goal only to see his lob drop inches wide of the post.
But despite their best efforts, the hosts could not find an equaliser as Preston booked a Northern Area Final date with Walsall.