Preston North End 1 Queens Park Rangers 3 - Match report on PNE's collapse against 10 men at Deepdale
Preston North End's play-off hopes took another hit as they threw away the lead to lose to 10-man Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites took an 18th minute through Daniel Johnson from the penalty spot after Darnell Fisher was fouled.
It was an advantage they held quite comfortably until the hour mark when QPR skipper Grant Hall slid in to get a touch on Ebere Eze's free-kick at the far post.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute, Geoff Cameron shown a red card for two bookings in the space of 12 minutes.
Being a player light inspired QPR and they stunned North End with two goals in five minutes to clinch victory.
Ryan Manning produced a fine finish from outside the box in the 79th minute, with Eze curling home a third goal in the 84th minute.
It was a third straight defeat for PNE, not a time to lose their form with the number of games now down to single figures.
Sean Maguire twice hit the woodwork for North End, early on at 0-0 and then a second time just after QPR had equalised.
North End's starting XI had shown two changes from the side beaten at Fulham a week ago.
Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop came into the team with David Nugent dropping to the bench and Brad Potts out injured.
The 4-2-3-1 formation saw Alan Browne partnered by Gallagher in midfield, with Johnson playing further forward.
Maguire led the attack, with Harrop on the left side and Tom Barkhuizen on the right.
In the third minute Maguire was the width of the woodwork away from giving PNE the lead.
Johnson slid a pass down the right channel for Maguire to chase, the striker taking the ball into the box and hitting a low shot from the side of the box across goal and against the far post.
North End went in front in the 18th minute, good build-up play allowing Fisher to find space down the side of the box.
Marc Pugh's challenge on the right-back sent Fisher to the ground and referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot.
With both Johnson and Gallagher on the pitch, DJ took the decision to take it.
He went through his usual routine, putting the ball on the spot and crouching down looking to the keeper.
Johnson then stepped up and tucked his penalty into the bottom right corner, keeper Liam Kelly going the right way but unable to reach it.
QPR's first chance came in the 25th minute, Yoann Barbet's shot taking a big deflection but Declan Rudd dealt with it comfortably.
Andrew Hughes climbed to meet a Gallagher corner but put his header wide at the far post.
A flag kick at the other end was headed over by QPR skipper Grant Hall.
The visitors made a double substitution at half-time, Ilias Chair and Luke Amos replacing Pugh and Dominic Ball.
QPR had the first chance of the second half, Bright Osayi-Samuel hammering a shot over the bar from the right hand side of of the box.
In the 49th minute, North End halted a QPR attack with Gallagher playing the ball up to Maguire down the inside left channel.
Maguire moved forward, exchanged passes with the supporting Harrop, before moving into the box and shooting over the bar.
QPR equalised in the 61st minute, Ben Davies' foul on Jordan Hugill giving away a free-kick and earning the PNE man a yellow card.
Eze delivered the free-kick which travelled across the box to the far post where Hall held off Hughes to stretch out a leg and poke a shot home from close range.
Within two minutes North End could have been back in front.
Fisher lifted a free-kick over the QPR defence, Maguire getting there just before the keeper to loop a header over him and against the bar.
Following in, the ball bounced off the bar and hit Maguire, it dropping agonisingly wide.
QPR were reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute, Cameron's challenge on Fisher bringing him a second yellow card of the contest - he had been cautioned 12 minute earlier foe fouling Gallagher.
Rather than that swinging the contest in PNE's favour, things went fully the way of the visitors then.
They went ahead in the 79th minute, Manning's 20-yard shot travelling over Rudd into the far top corner.
If that stunned Deepdale, a third goal six minutes from time left the place in a state of shock.
The ball was worked up to Eze on the edge of the box, the midfielder working the ball on to his right foot and curling a shot past Rudd into the far corner.
PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Hughes, Browne, Gallagher (Stockley 73), Barkhuizen (Sinclair 81), Johnson, Harrop (Ledson 81), Maguire. Subs (not used): Huntington, Rafferty, Nugent, Ripley.
QPR: Kelly, Rangel, Hall, Barbet, Manning, Cameron, Ball (Amos 46), Osayi-Samuel, Eze, Pugh (Chair 46), Hugill. Subs (not used): Kane, Shodipo, Oteh, Clarke, Lumley.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)
Attendance: 12,378 (613 away)