It's now one win in five and four games without scoring in the same period for Reading, who can now only boast a four-point gap over the chasing play-off pack. A brace from Tom Barkhuizen added to Daryl Horgan's strike to condemn the Royals in Lancashire.
What's more, it all started so well. Jaap Stam's 4-3-3 setup had Reading knocking the ball around with ease, penning Preston into their own area, and creating a number of half chances. Sadly, none were taken and the hosts produced a fine finish of their own to open the scoring.
Tyler Blackett missed his control of a ball over the top and Barkhuizen was rolled in to whip a delightful shot over Ali Al-Habsi, hitting the back of the net at the far-post. A scruffier second exposed the away team further, with barely a soul covering the counter-attack as Horgan eventually scrambled in a winner at the third time of asking.
By now, Preston were full of confidence and played much further up the pitch, quelling Reading and effectively killing the game off minutes after the break, as Barkhuizen turned in a set-piece routine for 3-0.
Elsewhere in the Championship; Leeds drew at home to QPR (good), Huddersfield beat Brentford (bad), Sheffield Wednesday lost to Villa (very good), and Fulham won away at Newcastle (really f*****g bad).