John McLeod bagged a brace as Fort William registered their first Scottish Cup victory to reach the second round.
Delighted Fort manager Ally Ewen said: “We knew this was always going to be a big ask but we decided to go there and give it a real go.
“The lads worked extra hard in training during the week as they knew history was there to be made. It was great to see Donald MacPhee score his first goal for the club from a tight angle and from there on Preston offered little and our defence stood firm.
“At half-time we knew the next goal was going to be crucial and just after they went close we broke away and John McLeod slotted home our second goal.
“Unfortunately, we suffered lapse of concentration and conceded a goal just a minute later. But we dug in, rode out the storm and then hit them on the counter with another goal from John.
“With three minutes left they made it 3-2 with the help of a deflection off of Iain Foggo but it was too little, too late for them.”
Fort got off to a flying start with a MacPhee strike in the 10th minute and three minutes after the break McLeod made it 2-0 but just 60 seconds later Athletic pulled one back through Juan Belope.
Fort restored their two-goal advantage with McLeod’s second of the afternoon before Preston grabbed a late consolation from Reece Cochrane.