The first real chance fell to the Reds. John O’Sullivan decided to try his luck from 25 yards out but clipped the post with his curling strike.
Despite some good play from the South Yorkshire side it was Preston who made the breakthrough with 37 minutes gone. After a scramble in the box the ball fell to the feet of Joe Garner, who coolly slotted it in to the bottom corner.
Declan John whipped the ball in to the box and found new signing Cameron Stewart with an open net to aim at 10 minutes into the second half, but the chance to score on his debut was spurned as he blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Barnsley finally broke the Preston resistance with just 11 minutes to go thanks to a cross by Mason Holgate, who found Jabo Ibehre two yards out and the big man stooped to head the ball across the goalline.