Match report: PNE 0 Derby County 1
Preston North End remain without a Championship point after going down to a harsh late defeat against Derby County at Deepdale.
A point was the very least the Lilywhites deserved from an end-to-end clash, with them putting in a much improved display than that in the first two league games against Reading and Fulham.
But the Rams staged a late raid to snatch the victory, Craig Forsyth heading the game's only goal in the 87th minute.
Following a shaky start, North End went on to create some half-decent chances, the lively Callum Robinson forcing a good first-half save out of Scott Carson.
Eoin Doyle and Tom Clarke had sights of goal in the second period but the hosts could not find a way through.
There was no Joe Garner in the squad as he closes in on a move to Rangers - that is expected to be completed later in the week - and Daniel Johnson dropped down to the bench.
They were replaced in the starting XI by Jermaine Beckford and Robinson who both impressed after coming off the bench against Fulham.
On the bench, there were returns for Ben Pearson and Simon Makienok after both missed the first three games of the season.
North End made a shaky start, defensive errors handing Derby the early initiative.
In the ninth minute, a square ball across midfield from Robinson was intercepted by Johnny Russell who bore down into the box but scuffed his shot wide of the target as he was closed down Clarke.
Not long after that, Paul Gallagher sliced a clearance across the face of the box presenting a chance to Thomas Ince, his shot blocked by the covering Bailey Wright.
The Rams hit the woodwork after a quarter of an hour, Jacob Butterfield and Ince working a short corner on the right.
Ince moved into space towards the corner of the box and curled a left-foot shot around Anders Lindegaard and against the far post.
Preston began to settle down, Robinson providing them with plenty of drive and energy down the left side.
He had the home side's first opening of the contest, a 20-yard shot which bounced well wide without worrying Carson.
Just beyond the half-hour, Robinson set off on a powerful run which saw evade a couple of challenges before trying his luck with a shot from outside the box, one which Carson dived to parry behind.
Gallagher took the resulting corner, Alan Browne meeting it with a header eight yards out which he sent over the bar.
Robinson's probing pass played Doyle in behind the Derby defence but he got the ball stuck under his feet and the chance went begging.
In the 40th minute, a ball dropped to Ince on the edge of the Preston box, his low shot too close to Lindegaard who saved comfortably.
The second half started at a decent pace, Derby forcing a couple of corners while another chance fell to Robinson.
A stray pass in the Derby midfield gave him the opportunity to push forward, his shot b locked by Richard Keogh on the edge of the box and looping up into the air.
It came down towards Liam Grimshaw who miscued his shot and sliced it wide.
PNE skipper Clarke almost caught out Carson with a header from 40 yards as he returned the ball back into the box after it had been cleared, one which the keeper scrambled to hold.
There came a spell when the play swung from end to end as the game got stretched.
Doyle drilled a low shot wide of the far post, then the visitors had a great chance as Martin broke clear down the right channel.
The Derby striker cut into the box and aimed a shot across goal, one which Lindegaard got down to well to fingertip behind.
Russell got behind the North End defence in the next attack but off balance, could only put a shot into the side-netting.
Chances continued to come at both ends, Martin meeting a cross from Cyrus Christie and flicking a header over the bar and on to the top of the net.
Doyle's snap shot from 25 yards was intended to catch the keeper unawares and it was not far off the mark, flashing inches wide of the target.
Jordan Hugill replaced Beckford in the 78th minute as the North End attack got freshen-up for the closing stages.
A clever exchanges of passes between Doyle and Robinson on the edge of the box ended with Doyle firing a shot over the bar.
Derby's winner came in the 87th minute and was a tough one to take so late on.
Will Hughes drove down the right side of the box and stood up a cross to the far post where Forsyth got above Pringle to head home.
PNE: Lindegaard, Grimshaw (Humphrey 88), Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Gallagher, Browne, Pringle, Robinson, Doyle (Makienok 85), Beckford (Hugill 78). Subs (not used): Pearson, Johnson, Spurr, Maxwell.
Derby: Carson, Christie, Shackell, Keogh, Forsyth, Ince (Camara 71), Butterfield (Pearce 88), Bryson, Russell, Hughes, Martin (Bent 90). Subs (not used): Baird, Johnson, Blackman, Grant.
Referee: David Coote (Nottingham)
Attendance: 10,628 (1,150 away)