Cardiff were knocked off the top of the Sky Bet Championship table after they were beaten 3-0 by Preston at Deepdale to end their unbeaten start.
A first-half free-kick from Josh Harrop was added to by second-half goals from former Cork City duo Sean Maguire and a wonder strike from Alan Browne.
Preston started well and top scorer Jordan Hugill forced a fine save from Neil Etheridge when he drove a left-footed shot across the keeper on 11 minutes.
Preston continued to knock on the door as Ben Davies’ header from Harrop’s corner on 36 minutes flashed narrowly wide and they got their reward on 38 minutes, as Harrop’s free-kick from 26 yards evaded everyone and nestled into Etheridge’s bottom left corner.
North End were flying; minutes later, Maguire flung himself at Josh Earl’s cross but could only direct his effort straight at Etheridge who gathered at the second attempt.
North End doubled their lead on 70 minutes when Maguire squeezed the ball between keeper and post for his second league goal of the season.
It had looked as though the summer signing — who scored his first English league goal on Saturday — missed his chance to shoot but he finished past Etheridge to ease Preston’s nerves.
It was game over with Browne’s wonder goal on 78 minutes as the combative midfielder struck the ball sweetly from 50 yards out after Etheridge’s poor clearance.
The Deepdale crowd rose in expectation as the Cardiff stopper backtracked but failed to delay the inevitable and tipped the ball into the net.
Aston Villa 0 Middlesbrough 0. Bolton 0 Sheff Utd 1. Leeds 2 Birmingham 0. Norwich 0 Burton Albion 0. Preston North End 3 Cardiff 0. QPR 2 Millwall 2.. Sheff Wed 2 Brentford 1. Sunderland 0 Nottm Forest 1. Wolverhampton 3 Bristol City 3.
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