Goals: Harrop (38′), Maguire (70′), Browne (78′)
Cardiff City allowed their unbeaten record slip with a poor display against Preston North End at Deepdale.
Preston cruised to a comfortable home win to become the first team to take all three points from Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds this season.
Another disastrous evening at Deepdale for Cardiff means they slip down to second, a point behind the still unbeaten Leeds United.
Warnock’s men return home to the Cardiff City Stadium to face Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday as they look to bounce back quickly from their first defeat.
The Bluebirds started slowly with Preston setting the tone with some attacking and physical play early on.
Jordan Hugil received the first chance inside 10 minutes after breaking away from Sean Morrison, but Neil Etheridge did well to save before Joe Bennett stepped in to clear.
Yellow cards were aplenty in the first half with a number of very physical challenges, although the situation wasn’t helped by a card-happy referee in Oliver Langford.
Cardiff were aggrieved with a number of decisions in the first half but none more than the free-kick given in the 38th minute against Sol Bamba.
A controversial decision resulting in a set-piece which Josh Harrop sweetly struck into the bottom corner to put the hosts in front.
The Bluebirds were beaten at their own game in the first-half with Preston taking the physical approach to get the better of their guests.
Preston continued to dominate in the second half despite a short spell of dominance from Cardiff following the restart.
The home side missed two good chances through Huntington and then Barkhuizen who certainly should have found the net – he didn’t even manage to hit the target.
The second goal did come though, and it arrived thanks to Sean Maguire who hesitated initially, before beating Neil Etheridge at his near post with a powerful strike inside the box.
Again Cardiff were at sixes and sevens as Preston broke through the midfield before finding their way into the box.
It got worse for the Bluebirds as Preston made it three and again the visitors were left furious with referee Oliver Langford.
The goal came from a shocking clearance from goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, the ball landed at Alan Browne’s feet and he smashed home from inside the centre circle with the Cardiff stopper still way off his line.
Cardiff left aggrieved with Etheridge being rushed into a clearance by a Preston player who was quite clearly offside.
It became damage limitation for Cardiff late on as they were quickly forced to come to terms with their first league defeat of the season.
Another evening to forget for the Bluebirds at Deepdale and they will at least take comfort in the fact they have an opportunity as soon as Saturday to bounce back from a first defeat.
Neil Warnock perhaps made his first errors of the season here as he opted to go with the same side that showed signs of decay at Fulham on the weekend.
The in form Danny Ward probably should have replaced the tired-looking Kenneth Zohore tonight and the selection errors perhaps cost the Bluebirds here.
Though, the starting XI should have been more than capable of putting up a fight against a Preston side who have enjoyed a mediocre start to their campaign.
Expect changes for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and you would expect there were rattling teacups in the away changing room after full-time at Deppdale.