QPR had to settle for second in a two-horse race at North End.
These are our individual scores on a bad day.
Alex Smithies 9: The difference between a 2-1 defeat and an absolute hiding. Made two inspired saves late on from Barkhuizen and Hugill, while his quick kick started the move that led to the opener. If Fraser Forster is worth £8 million, what is Smithies worth?
Nedum Onuoha 7: Made two key clearances as Preston looked to press in the first half, before standing up well to their unabated attacks later on. Has a real job on to guide some inexperienced players.
James Perch 8: Came back into the side and the best compliment that can be given is that the R's didn't miss Grant Hall one bit. Good in the air and dependable on the ground.
Joel Lynch 6: Almost put through his own net in the closing stages and looked to have lost his composure a tad, but he can't really be blamed for that as the back three were left hung out to dry by the rest of the team.
Darnell Furlong 6: He is learning the game and that much is clear in a fair portion of his decision-making. Throw-in created the goal but made odd calls, like playing incessant long balls with Matt Smith not in a position to hold it up.
Ryan Manning 5: Another in the early stages of his development and it shows. His passing was badly out of kilter at Preston and at a frenetic ending, the youngster didn't communicate with his team-mates.
Luke Freeman 6: At the centre of the game's flashpoint with his controversial second yellow. Otherwise, good, and will be missed for the visit of Cardiff.
Jake Bidwell 5: Made a poor call to pass in the box which left the Hoops vulnerable on the break. Put in some useful crosses but Preston found plenty of space down his flank.
Pawel Wzolek 6: Didn't do much but looked good in doing it. Went missing late on with his team under pressure and really didn't pull his weight.
Matt Smith 6: Quiet day for the in-form striker who couldn't add to his strikes against Birmingham and Wigan. Ball didn't fall to him but he was involved in build-up to the goal.
Kazenga Lua-Lua 7: When Washington returns it will be an interesting dilemma as on this form, Ollie can't leave him out. Sporadic in his shooting. Took the goal very well indeed.
Idrissa Sylla 5: Came on but didn't offer anything in terms of leading the line or an outlet at a time of pressure.
Yeni N'Gabakoto 4: Missed a really good chance in the 82nd minute, stabbing over with the opportunity to seize a lifeline.
And the match...
QPR's defeat to Preston North End put an end to their revival in the Championship.
Rangers took the lead at Deepdale through Kazenga Lua-Lua, but goals from Aiden McGeady and Jordan Hugill sent them home pointless and they ended with ten men after Luke Freeman's dismissal.
After a turgid first half-hour, Alex Smithies pulled off a good save from a Jordan Hugill header and the R’s snuck ahead moments later.
Darnell Furlong hurled a throw into the box and Matt Smith flicked it on to Kazenga Lua-Lua, who held off a challenge to backheel in from six yards.
The Lilywhites continued to be frustrated by QPR’s patient defending but a moment of quality from Aiden McGeady pegged the visitors back on the stroke of half time.
The winger cut across goal on an angle outside the box, refusing a couple of opportunities to shoot, and picked his moment to whip into the bottom right corner past Smithies.
Ian Holloway’s men withstood a spell of Preston pressure after half-time as Greg Cunningham curled just wide of the far post and on the end of another lull, Callum Robinson fired home but from an offside position.
The home side made their good play count in the 71st minute when Smithies stopped a Hugill volley but couldn’t keep the rebound out and the striker tapped home from close in.
It all got frantic late on as Luke Freeman was sent off for a mysterious second yellow, Joel Lynch turned a cross against his own bar, Smithies made an outstanding double save and late sub Yeni N’Gbakoto stabbed a great chance over.
How well did QPR play today?
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