Sheffield United continued their unbeaten start to the League One season with a narrow victory at Preston.
Tony McMahon's long ball picked out Dave Kitson, who lifted a neat finish over home keeper Thorsten Stuckmann to give the Blades the lead.
The hosts pressed for an equaliser but Chris Beardsley's first-time effort was off target.
Blades keeper George Long denied Paul Huntington from close range as the visitors held out for victory.
Danny Wilson's men remain one point behind Stevenage in the second automatic promotion place.
Preston, who are now winless in their last three league games, are in 10th, four points outside the play-off places.
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Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"That was a great, solid performance. George (Long's) save at the end was really all he had to do all game.
"To come here and get a result was a tremendous performance but it could have been three, four or five.
"We're just thankful for the one goal that separated us, because I think we deserved it.
"If you want to be challenging at the end of the season, you have to get results like this throughout it."