Peterborough United were beaten 2-0 by in-form Preston North End at Deepdale as a goal in each half condemned Dave Robertson's men to defeat with Daniel Johnson the standout performer on the night for the Lilywhites.
Dave Robertson named an unchanged starting line-up for the clash at Deepdale with just one change on the substitutes bench as more defensive cover was provided in the shape of Christian Burgess - Erhun Oztumer dropped out of the 18.
Preston, who won 5-1 against Crewe Alexandra at the weekend, made a bright start as you would expect with Callum Robinson seeing an early effort deflected wide via the head of Gabriel Zakuani.
At the other end, Joe Newell whistled a left-foot drive from 30-yards inches past the upright. Ben Alnwick was well positioned to claim a header from Beckford on 23 minutes while Washington just couldn't gather a cross shot from Taylor under control on the slippery surface as Posh counter-attacked at pace.
A poor pass from Payne put Posh on the back foot on 35 minutes, but Zakuani put his body on the line as you would expect to block Gallagher's effort.
On 36 minutes, the hosts opened the scoring and Posh will be disappointed with the manner of the goal as Daniel JOHNSON was allowed time and space to pick his spot and curl past Ben Alnwick into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The goalscorer had another effort on his left-foot moments later, but this time Alnwick was well placed to gather. Paul Huntington was cautioned for a foul on James right on the edge of the area as the game moved towards stoppage time.
Two minutes of added time was signaled by the fourth official, but despite a decent Taylor delivery, Posh couldn't force the ball home before the referee brought an end to the first period.
Bostwick was cautioned for a foul, his eighth of the campaign, before Garner fired wide of the near post.
Posh made a change on 53 minutes with Washington replaced by Kyle Vassell. Robinson side-footed wide at the back post after an inventive corner kick routine from the hosts.
Ntlhe forced his way through a Beckford challenge moments later, but couldn't keep his ambitious right-foot shot from distance down.
Johnson fired over from 30-yards after a poor Santos header was latched onto by the talented midfielder. Gallagher curled a 20-yard shot inches past the post as the pressure continued to build from the confident hosts.
Gallagher saw a curler comfortably claimed by Alnwick as Johnson continued to dictate play from the middle of the park. Bostwick was replaced by David Norris on 71 minutes as Posh made a second change.
Alnwick did well to tip a fierce Robinson shot over the bar on 73 minutes before Posh registered a shot on goal with Taylor wriggling past two challenges and unleashing a fierce shot which was parried clear by Johnstone.
Posh came even closer moments later as Jack Payne unleashed a shot from 30-yards, rather like his effort against Sheffield United, but this time the effort bounced wide.
Preston made the game safe on 81 minutes as Gallagher burst down the left and his low cross was bundled over the line at the near post from close range from Jermaine BECKFORD.
Dave Robertson was not content to lose 2-0 though and pushed Santos into the attack to try and provide a physical edge in the final few minutes.
Full-time: Preston North End 2-0 Peterborough United
Preston: Johnstone, Laird, Clarke, Wright, Beckford (sub Humphrey 85min), Gallagher, Garner (sub Davies 77min), Welsh, Huntingdon, Johnson, Robinson (sub Woods 90min). Unused subs: Stuckmann, Kilkenny, Reid, Ebanks-Blake.
Posh: Alnwick, Smith, Ntlhe, Bostwick (sub Norris 71min), Zakuani, Tayloir, Bostwick, Payne, Newell, Washington (sub Vassell 52min), James. Unused subs: Henry, Burgess, Brisley, Beautyman, H. Anderson.
Attendance: 8,856 (204 Posh fans).