Lee Holmes scored one goal and set up another as Preston eased their relegation worries with a welcome win.
Holmes netted for just the second time this season when he curled in from 20 yards before crossing for Will Hayhurst to guide home the second.
Preston could have extended their lead but Jack King shot over from six yards.
Stevenage improved after the break but Robin Shroot fired over from inside the box before fellow substitute Steve Beleck headed wide.
It meant struggling Stevenage were condemned to a fifth consecutive away defeat as Preston moved seven points above the relegation zone.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Stevenage manager Gary Smith told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"I thought we looked flat from the opening stages.
"We found it extremely difficult to get ourselves any sort of foothold in the game.
"Today we were second best for too long and they won the game in that period.
"It's now time for the players to really stand up and be counted. .I expect there will be a reaction on Tuesday [against Bournemouth]."
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +0:46
William Hayhurst takes a shot.90:00 +0:28
A cross is delivered by Luke Freeman, Paul Huntington makes a clearance.87:43
Luke Freeman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stuart Beavon. Direct free kick taken by David Buchanan.86:41
Free kick awarded for a foul by Anthony Grant on Stuart Beavon. Paul Connolly takes the direct free kick.83:58
The free kick is swung in left-footed by Luke Freeman.83:58 Substitution
Substitution John Welsh leaves the field to be replaced by John Mousinho.83:58
Unfair challenge on David Gray by William Hayhurst results in a free kick.82:49
William Hayhurst takes a shot. Save made by Steve Arnold. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Lee Holmes, Steve Arnold makes a save.82:04
Corner taken by Greg Tansey from the left by-line.81:22
David Buchanan concedes a free kick for a foul on Luke Freeman. Free kick crossed by Luke Freeman, clearance by Darius Charles.77:12
Anthony Grant gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Beardsley. John Welsh takes the direct free kick.73:41
Lee Holmes fouled by Miguel Comminges, the ref awards a free kick. Lee Holmes restarts play with the free kick.72:59
Close range effort by Paul Huntington goes wide of the right-hand upright.72:17
Lucas Akins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Holmes. Paul Connolly restarts play with the free kick.71:43
David Gray produces a cross, save by Declan Rudd.70:34
Effort from inside the area by Lee Holmes misses to the left of the target.67:21
Header by Steve Beleck from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.65:40 Substitution
Substitution Chris Beardsley joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jack King.65:40
Effort on goal by Robin Shroot from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
Luke Freeman takes a shot. Blocked by David Buchanan.63:51
Darius Charles takes the free kick.63:51 Substitution
Substitution Robin Shroot joins the action as a substitute, replacing Gavin Mahon.63:51
Stuart Beavon is ruled offside.61:27
Free kick taken by John Welsh.61:27 Booking
Booking Booking for David Gray for unsporting behaviour.61:11
David Gray gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on William Hayhurst.58:51
David Buchanan challenges Lucas Akins unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luke Freeman restarts play with the free kick.58:10 Substitution
Substitution Sam Hoskins leaves the field to be replaced by Lucas Akins.58:10 Substitution
Substitution Steve Beleck replaces Marcus Haber.56:43
Marcus Haber challenges Bailey Wright unfairly and gives away a free kick. Declan Rudd restarts play with the free kick.55:53
Effort on goal by Lee Holmes from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.55:12
Shot from deep inside the area by Jack King clears the crossbar.50:35
The referee penalises Paul Huntington for handball. Greg Tansey restarts play with the free kick.48:26
Unfair challenge on Mark Roberts by Stuart Beavon results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Arnold.46:06
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stuart Beavon by Darius Charles. Free kick taken by John Welsh.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:55 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +0:20
John Welsh challenges Darius Charles unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Steve Arnold.42:44
Unfair challenge on Nicky Wroe by David Gray results in a free kick. Nicky Wroe takes the free kick. The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Arnold.42:03
Centre by Stuart Beavon, save made by Steve Arnold.41:22
Miguel Comminges is penalised for a handball. Free kick taken by Declan Rudd.39:31
Jack King challenges Miguel Comminges unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Darius Charles.35:22
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Buchanan on Marcus Haber. Free kick taken by Luke Freeman.33:38
Anthony Grant has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.33:20
Marcus Haber crosses the ball, Bailey Wright manages to make a clearance.32:13
Lee Holmes fouled by Miguel Comminges, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Connolly.30:59
Marcus Haber challenges Bailey Wright unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Declan Rudd.28:19
John Welsh takes a shot. Blocked by Anthony Grant. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Lee Holmes from the right by-line to the near post, Greg Tansey makes a clearance.27:47
Stuart Beavon is caught offside. Darius Charles takes the indirect free kick.27:03
John Welsh has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.26:12
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack King by Gavin Mahon. Direct free kick taken by Nicky Wroe.25:02
William Hayhurst takes a shot. Save by Steve Arnold.23:53
Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark Roberts on Jack King. Lee Holmes crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Darius Charles.22:24
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Lee Holmes.21:49
John Welsh takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Roberts. Lee Holmes delivers the ball, Darius Charles gets a block in.17:03
Unfair challenge on Anthony Grant by Paul Connolly results in a free kick. Greg Tansey takes the direct free kick.15:46
Assist on the goal came from Lee Holmes.15:46 Goal scored
Goal! - William Hayhurst - Preston 2 - 0 Stevenage William Hayhurst finds the back of the net with a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Preston 2-0 Stevenage.15:44
The ball is sent over by Lee Holmes,14:36
Centre by Luke Freeman, Bailey Wright manages to make a clearance.12:09
Lee Holmes takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, save made by Steve Arnold.10:39
John Welsh challenges Luke Freeman unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Greg Tansey from left wing, save made by Declan Rudd.9:07
Sam Hoskins takes a shot. Declan Rudd makes a save.5:24
The assist for the goal came from Paul Connolly.5:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Lee Holmes - Preston 1 - 0 Stevenage Lee Holmes scores a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Preston 1-0 Stevenage.1:58
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Buchanan by Marcus Haber. Free kick taken by Declan Rudd.0:58
Shot from just outside the box by Stuart Beavon goes over the bar.0:00
The match gets underway.
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