North End’s 11-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday but they produced their seventh away win of the season after withstanding late pressure from a Carlisle side that had plenty of possession without breaching a solid defence.
Max Ehmer did have the ball in the Preston net in the 26th minute with a looping header only to see his effort ruled out for offside.
North End went close in the 36th minute when Chris Humphrey cut in from the right to slide a low shot past goalkeeper Ben Amos, but also just a foot wide of the far post.
It was a warning to Carlisle and they were caught out again in the 42nd minute when John Welsh’s pass found teenager Brownhill in space on the edge of the area and he produced a superb finish with an accurate shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Jack King thought he had doubled Preston’s lead shortly after the break only to see his point-blank header kept out by a brilliant instinctive save by Amos.
The second half was a more exciting affair with the visitors looking dangerous on the break and Declan Rudd came to North End’s rescue with a save when Tom Lawrence’s thumping drive looked to be on target for an equaliser.