Preston North End suffered their first defeat of the Championship season as Birmingham City won 1-0 at Deepdale.
Maxime Colin’s header in the 16th minute was the first goal PNE have conceded in league action this term, and it was enough to earn the visitors all three points.
Ryan Lowe’s men started the game brightly, creating three chances within the opening seven minutes, with the second of those seeing Emil Riis sent through on goal by Alan Browne, but goalkeeper John Ruddy made a crucial save one-on-one.
Ruddy produced a simpler stop soon after to keep out Liam Lindsay’s header, before Scott Hogan looked like he was about to break into the North End box at the other end, but Ben Whiteman produced a superb sliding challenge just in time.
Hogan then hit an air shot from a promising position on 14 minutes and the ball went through to Jordan Graham, whose first-time effort was tipped wide by Freddie Woodman.
Woodman was beaten, though, 16 minutes in as Graham whipped a dangerous ball across the face of goal and Colin headed into the empty net at the far post.
The visitors enjoyed a spell of pressure from that point, which saw the North End defence tested by long throw-ins and corners, while the Blues frustrated PNE at the other end by limiting their chance creation for the rest of the half.
PNE felt hard done by on two occasions early in the second period, firstly as Parrott looked to be pulled back as he broke into the box – but the referee waved away appeals – and the striker was later punished for a foul as he dispossessed a Birmingham defender before finding the back of the net, however, the whistle was blown for a foul.
Hogan was almost gifted a goal at the other end a few moments later when a Whiteman header back towards goal fell to the Irish forward who looked to flick it over Woodman, but the ‘keeper made the save.
North End then came close on three occasions within a minute. Firstly it was Brady denied by a flying Ruddy save, before McCann curled an effort over, and in the next attack Riis then slammed the ball into the side netting.
Chances kept coming, with Whiteman soon slamming the ball across goal and Browne was inches away from getting a crucial touch to open the scoring.
Ryan Lowe made all five of his changes in the second half to try and impact the game, which included a first appearance of the season for young Mikey O’Neill, however, the goal didn’t come for the Lilywhites.
PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Cunningham; Potts (Fernández, 61), McCann (Johnson, 82), Whiteman (O’Neill, 82), Browne (Evans, 73), Brady; Riis, Parrott (Ledson, 82). Subs not used: Cornell, Bauer.
Birmingham City line-up: Ruddy; Sanderson, Roberts, Trusty; Colin, Chong (James, 57), Bielik (Hall, 73), Bacuna (Bellingham, 86), Graham; Hogan (Hannibal, 86), Deeney (Jutkiewicz, 73). Subs not used: Etheridge, Williams.
Attendance: 16,098 (2,073 away fans)
Referee: Mr J Bell.