Preston North End 1 Huddersfield Town 0
SIR Tom Finney Way became a rocky road for Huddersfield Town, who desperately need a three-point pick-me-up, not just to spark some optimism, but to earn a play-off place.
It’s 1969 since a victory was last recorded at Deepdale, a historic venue which has been smartly modernised.
And after centre-back Chris Robertson’s 55th-minute goal gave the home side the advantage, Town seldom looked like getting anything.
As well as three successive defeats, that’s three matches running in which Simon Grayson’s side have failed to score.
The statistics suggest an over-reliance on runaway top scorer Jordan Rhodes, who has certainly broadened his striking skillset, but still needs decent service.
Normally that comes from Town’s wide players, but Gary Roberts and Danny Ward both struggled to make the kind of impact home favourite Danny Mayor managed on Saturday.
And when Rhodes did get the opportunities to add to his 38-goal haul, he either found German goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann an unbeatable barrier, or headed over.
All three of his chances came during a busy finale to a slow-burner of a first half, as both sides struggled to find their passing range during the opening stages.
Grayson, his hands tied to a fair degree by fitness concerns, made three changes to the team which under-performed so badly down at Bournemouth and plumped for 4-3-3 rather than 4-4-2.
Ian Bennett replaced Alex Smithies between the posts after the younger man sustained a nasty gashed ear in a freak training ground collision with Danny Cadamarteri.
Right-back Jack Hunt returned from a two-match ban, only to be caught out when Preston notched the winner from a short corner on his side.
And Roberts made a first start in four alongside Rhodes and Ward as Grayson, concerned by poor ball retention in recent games, went with two banks of three, Scott Arfield, Diego Arismendi and Anton Robinson filling the midfield berths.