Preston’s unbeaten Sky Bet Championship record was emphatically ended as they lost 4-0 at home to West Brom.
After six wins and two draws, North End were comprehensively dispatched by the impressive Baggies.
Goals from Darnell Furlong, Alex Mowatt, Matt Phillips and Kyle Bartley gave West Brom a third win of the season, lifting them to within three points of the play-off places.
With rain lashing down on the lush Deepdale surface, the Baggies took just four minutes to open the scoring. Phillips touched the ball tidily to Furlong, and he drilled home superbly first-time from 22 yards.
It was a timely early boost for Carlos Corberan’s men, one which gave them a spring in their step.
Centre-back Cedric Kipre was next to threaten when his close-range effort was bravely blocked by Brad Potts.
Preston were uncharacteristically poor in possession, and the visitors could have punished them again, only for Erik Pieters to volley wildly over the top from a promising position.
As the hosts were finally finding some rhythm, a howler from Jordan Storey cost them a second goal just before the half-hour mark.
The defender was far too casual trying to bypass Mowatt, losing the ball easily as the Baggies’ midfielder went on to coolly beat a stunned Freddie Woodman from eight yards.
Nothing was going Preston’s way, with West Brom patiently probing for another opening.
They came close when skipper Jed Wallace’s strike was deflected wide, while Okay Yokuslu planted a free header woefully off target in first-half added time.
The Baggies were straight on the attack at the start of the second period when Mowatt flung in a terrific cross for Grady Diangana, but he scooped a shot disappointingly over.
Diangana was then thwarted by an assistant referee’s flag as West Brom thought they had grabbed a third goal.
Like the rain, the Baggies’ forward play was persistent, and next to go close was Phillips, who curled a sweet strike just past the far post.
West Brom finally got a third goal – rather fortuitously – in the 62nd minute as Phillips fired home via a wicked deflection off Storey from 15 yards.
That prompted many North End fans to head for the exits, with their team’s day heading from bad to worse.
That was summed up when sub Mads Frokjaer somehow missed the target from eight yards, further compounding the home supporters’ frustration.
Three-quarters of the stadium almost instantly emptied when Bartley converted Wallace’s cross to complete the scoring in the 87th minute.