The hosts took a valuable victory but could come to rue conceding crucial away goals in their FA Cup quarter-final tie
Badri Radzi curled home a magnificent 20-yard free-kick with only three minutes on the clock, after Mohammed Ghaddar was clumsily felled by Fauzan Dzulkifli.
The response from PKNS was a good one, with their forwards looking to exploit the three-man Kelantan defence. Karlo Primorac had the first opportunity as he found space down the right, before cutting in past Farisham Ismail and firing a firm shot across goal that Khairul Fahmi saved well.
Not long after this, PKNS managed to draw level through another of their import players, although the fault lied squarely with the Kelantan defence. Farisham made a mess of a routine clearance, hitting it directly off teammate Nik Shahrul, allowing Primorac to play a through ball for Patrick Wleh, who made no mistake in front of goal.
It took the home team until five minutes before the break to show any further attacking intent. Firstly Ghaddar teed up Wan Zahararulnizam on the edge of the area and he tested Remezey Che Ros, before Zairul Fitri crossed for Fakri Saarani who hit a good instinctive volley straight at the goalkeeper.
But three minutes before half time, the Red Warriors went ahead again. Zahararulnizam was the architect, making a stirring run up the left wing before crossing for Ghaddar. His low shot across goal was kept out by Remezey, but Tengku Hasbullah was on hand to stab home.
Two minutes later, Nazmi Faiz was guilty of an awful studs up tackle on Ghaddar. But the referee brandished a yellow card, which was a let off for the young player.
As fate would almost have it, Nazmi nearly pulled his team level with a long-range effort early into the second half, but Khairul stopped the shot at the second attempt. The diminutive playmaker was visibly growing in stature in the second period and his ball over the top of the Kelantan defence in the 58th minute could have well led to a penalty after P Gunanlan and Farisham collided viciously. However, the official strangely judged the PKNS midfielder to be the guilty party.
Tengku Hasbullah should have doubled his account for the night on 69 minutes following a rapid counter attack. Badri sprung Hasbullah, but despite being in behind the defence and through on goal, the midfielder never seemed confident and slashed wide. Moments later some trademark Ghaddar trickery almost led to a third goal, but Remezey turned his near post effort behind for a corner.
Despite failing to take these opportunities, Kelantan's heads didn't drop and they soon found the elusive third goal through substitute Shakir Ali. It was another sumptuous assist by Badri, whose ball over the top was inch perfect allowing the marauding midfielder to control and fire home.
Shawky should have extended the led with ten minutes remaining, following yet another through pass by Radzi, but he squandered the opportunity by blazing over. Soon after this Kelantan were made to pay as PKNS trimmed the lead through substitute Dong-Chan Kim. It came after a good run by fellow substitute Khairul Azrin, and his cutback was side footed home stylishly by Kim who was lurking on the edge of the box.
With the all important second away goal, PKNS were happy to contain Kelantan for the remainder of the game with Dzulkifli particularly impressive making a last ditch tackle on Francis Forkey Doe as he bore down on goal.