Darren Ferguson suffered defeat in his first game in charge of Preston as Bristol City won 4-2 in an entertaining clash at Ashton Gate.
Early goals from Danny Haynes and Liam Fontaine put the hosts in charge, but Chris Brown pulled a goal back for North End in a first half containing no fewer than 19 attempts on goal.
Preston could consider themselves unfortunate to be a goal down at the interval, but they made a slow start to the second half and fell further behind when Louis Carey headed home a free-kick from Paul Hartley.
Ferguson's men rarely threatened thereafter and they conceded a late fourth when Evander Sno drilled past Andy Lonergan from the edge of the area.
Ross Wallace grabbed an injury-time consolation with a wonderful curling free-kick, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.