Huddersfield Town were beaten at their own game as their dismal record at Deepdale continued.
David Wagner’s side went into the Roses clash having scored 13 goals in the final 15 minutes of their 29 Championship matches, more than any other team in the division.
And when Nahki Wells made those figures 14 in 30 with an 80th-minute opener, it looked like Town were on their way to a first victory at the Lancashire venue since 1969.
But a late home rally brought two goals, one deflected in by unfortunate stand-in skipper Joel Lynch, and an eighth defeat in 14 winless visits.
It looked like Jonathan Hogg might have salvaged a draw during five minutes of time added on, but his effort was ruled not to have crossed the line by referee Darren Drysdale, who it has to be said, had a decent game.
A fourth successive loss and third in the league was tough on Lynch, making his 300th career appearance at club level, tough on Wagner and tough on Town and their vocal 2,245 contingent of travelling fans in a 12,653 crowd.
There was a lot to like about their performance, with midfielder Philip Billing, in particular, catching the eye in his third senior start and sixth appearance in total.
But goals change, and win, games, and Town have to develop a more ruthless edge when attacking as well as get tighter at the back (it’s now 44 goals against in those 30 matches).
Preston keeper Anders Lindegaard, on his home debut after signing on loan from West Bromwich Albion, made some good saves.
But Town should still have done better with their 20 attempts (as opposed to Preston’s 10).
Wagner’s men also bossed possession (the stats say they had 64%) in a clash of footballing styles.
Preston were certainly more direct, but struggled to seriously trouble keeper Jed Steer until that late double.
Steer was wrong-footed when Paul Gallagher’s volley from a corner cannoned into Lynch, who tried to clear but could only divert the ball into the net.
And the on-loan Aston Villa stopper got a hand to Alan Browne’s header from Town old boy Calum Woods, but couldn’t keep it out.
Preston’s former Town manager Simon Grayson’s double substitution on 58 minutes certainly gave his side a boost.
While Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson went off, on came Alan Browne and Preston’s eight-goal top scorer Daniel Johnson, who posed some problems.
But it’s frustrating in the extreme that having carved out a lead, Town ended up losing again.
Wagner, who preferred on-loan Middlesbrough left-back James Husband to Jason Davidson, gave a debut from the bench to on-loan Brighton winger Elvis Manu and also brought on centre-back William Boyle for a second senior appearance, insists that with this level of performance, the points will come.
Hopefully his team can stop the rot at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, because we’d all rather be looking up than down the table.