Graham Cummins had a great opportunity to put the hosts in front in the first-half but his close-range header was pushed away by Iron goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.
He soon headed over again while Andy Barcham nearly stole all three points for Scunthorpe on the hour mark only to be denied by Thorsten Stuckmann.
Chances – as well as craft and skill – were few and far between at Deepdale and when they did come Preston could not take them. Slocombe kept out Cummins’ first-half header. The rebound also fell nicely to Iain Hume but Scunthorpe captain Paul Reid slid in to deny him.
Cummins and Daniel Devine both headed over as the game grew old and the visitors then had a chance to break the deadlock and steal the win.
Former Preston striker Jon Parkin found Barcham with a neat through ball but Stuckmann rushed out to spread himself at his feet.