COCA-COLA CHAMPIONSHIP: Preston North End 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers found the weight of history too great a burden to overcome as their play-off chances were dealt a further blow by resurgent Preston at impenetrable Deepdale.
Not since Birmingham City, then managed by Trevor Francis, won here in February 2001 have Preston lost a league game at home on a Tuesday night.
That remarkable sequence extends to 31 matches after Wolves, despite taking the lead early in the second half through substitute Andy Keogh, were unable to end the run.
Manager Mick McCarthy had hoped Preston's run would help inspire his side, which had been set a seven-point target from this game, Saturday's return to Lancashire to face Burnley and the subsequent visit of Scunthorpe to close in on the top six.
But, apart from bright starts to each half, Wolves did not do enough to meet McCarthy's demands and after failing to make it a hat-trick of away wins are in danger of leaving themselves too little margin for error in the closing weeks of the campaign as they remained stuck in 11th place.
They could, though, also do with a change of luck after a soft penalty for the second week running proved decisive.
A 2-0 lead against Southampton slipped away after the Saints were awarded a debatable spot kick at Molineux and last night Preston were handed a route back into the game when Darren Craddock was harshly judged to have tripped Chris Brown.
Contact appeared to be minimal but referee Jon Moss ruled in Brown's favour and Callum Davidson drove home the equaliser seven minutes after Keogh had put Wolves ahead.
"It didn't look like a penalty to me. It's not me bemoaning my luck, I didn't think it was and I have articulated my thoughts to the referee politely and pleasantly," McCarthy said afterwards.
"Of course it changed the game and then we defended badly for their second goal. It was a fabulous finish but the defending was not good enough.
"The performance was okay but when we scored the goal we were on top and we should have gone on and finished it. Perhaps that's the story of our season. We have not scored enough goals. Sylvain has added to us but we have not got enough goals from any department."
Lifted by the penalty, Preston sensed a third successive win to ease their passage away from the relegation zone and nine minutes from time they got it as the Wolves defence allowed
Simon Whaley too much space to collect a pass from Billy Jones and thump an angled volley beyond Hennessey from 15 yards.
That had looked an unlikely scenario when the impressive Keogh scored his fifth goal in eight games to press his claims for a return to the starting line-up at Burnley.
Wolves looked a far more potent side with Keogh and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake together in attack in a 4-4-2 formation, even though they had been lively on the break in a decent open spell. The player Keogh replaced, midfielder Dave Edwards, could have given the visitors the lead inside the opening two minutes before making way at the break with a groin injury.
Andy Lonergan made a fine save on that occasion but had no answer to Keogh's impressive strike, fired home from 20 yards after beating Youl Mawene and Sean St Ledger.
Ebanks-Blake had also gone close after being teed up by Keogh but following a first defeat in five games time may be starting to run out for McCarthy's men.
"We keep losing a bit of ground but l have tried not to get too wrapped up in it," McCarthy added. "We will see if we can go and win at Burnley and keep ourselves in the hunt until the end of the season and see if we can get where we want to be."
Scorers: Keogh (53) 0-1, Davidson (pen, 60) 1-1, Whaley (81) 2-1.
PRESTON NORTH END: Lonergan; Jones, Mawene, St Ledger, Davidson; Sedgwick, McKenna, Carter, Whaley; Brown, Priskin (Mellor, 72). Substitutes: Hill, Trotman, L Neal, C Neal.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Hennessey; Collins, Craddock, Breen, Elokobi; Elliott, Henry, Potter (Gibson 68mins), Edwards (Keogh, h/t), Gray (Jarvis, 68); Ebanks-Blake. Substitutes: Foley, Stack.
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).
Bookings: Preston - McKenna, Brown.