Paul Mariner was condemned to a dismal 2-0 defeat in his first game in charge of struggling Plymouth after Preston coasted to victory.
The hosts had failed to win any of their previous seven Coca-Cola Championship outings but first-half goals from Richard Chaplow and Ross Wallace effectively sealed the points.
Midfielder Chaplow volleyed home the opener in the 10th minute and Scotland winger Wallace swept home a second 16 minutes later.
That ensured a dismal start to life under head coach Mariner, handed control of all footballing activities after Paul Sturrock was removed from his position on Thursday and given a business support role.
The new boss was forced to make changes to the Pilgrims' defence following Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Swansea.
On-loan Aston Villa centre-half Shane Lowry was suspended after he was dismissed for two yellow cards at the Liberty Stadium and fellow loanee David Gray was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
Reda Johnson was recalled to the heart of defence while on-loan Cardiff defender Darcy Blake also earned a starting berth.
Preston boss Alan Irvine was without Billy Jones after the right-back limped out of Tuesday's goalless draw against Derby having sustained an ankle injury during the second half.
Yet the hosts quickly assumed control of proceedings and came close to opening the scoring after five minutes.
Wallace collected possession 25 yards from goal and was afforded the time and space to advance forward and drive a left-footed volley just wide.
Three minutes later, Plymouth flickered into life when Alan Judge rifled a fierce shot goalwards but on-loan Stoke midfielder Michael Tonge did well to block his effort.
But the pendulum quickly swung back in Preston's favour and they led in the 10th minute when Chaplow's delightful volley flew into the bottom left-hand corner from 20 yards.
Almost immediately, North End went in search of their second when striker Chris Brown hit a 25-yard shot which Romain Larrieu saved comfortably.
Yet the hosts continued to probe and, after Jon Parkin headed over the crossbar and had a similar effort saved by Larrieu, the second goal arrived in the 26th minute.
Brown showed intelligence to find Wallace 12 yards from goal with a neat pass and the former Sunderland man did the rest with a clinical right-footed finish into the bottom corner.
Plymouth attempted to hit back in the 28th minute when Carl Fletcher narrowly missed the target from 30 yards.
But North End had opportunities to stretch their lead before the break as Chaplow fired just over and Liam Chilvers headed a corner from Wallace over from just six yards out.
Both sides began the second half in lively fashion and in the 53rd minute Judge tested home stopper Andy Lonergan with an 18-yard drive.
In the 55th minute, an inswinging corner from Paul Parry was nodded wide by Neill Collins.
Parkin then headed wide from another clever cross by Chaplow but Plymouth almost had a lifeline in the 68th minute when Gary Sawyer hit the bar from 25 yards.
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