Three goals in the last 18 minutes saw Wednesday crash to a 3-1 defeat at home to Preston this evening.
This third successive reverse sees us now down to 16th place on 52 points, seven away from the relegation zone with four games to play … and with a possible EFL points deduction still hovering over us.
We took the lead just before the hour when Jacob Murphy cut in from the right, received a clever flicked return pass from Atdhe Nuhiu and slotted the ball past keeper Declan Rudd from close range.
Sub Josh Windass shot into the side netting when well placed on 76 minutes but two minutes later mounting Preston pressure saw the visitors equalise, sub Scott Sinclair shooting past Joe Wildsmith after some unconvincing defending.
We then looked to have regained the lead after 85 minutes, the unmarked Julian Borner heading home, only for referee Harrington to rule it out for a foul on keeper Rudd by Joey Pelupessy.
And, almost immediately, it was the visitors who were ahead when sub Jayden Stockley, who looked to have elbowed Borner earlier, fired home from the edge of the box.
Any hopes of a late equaliser were then quashed in the sixth minute of seven added minutes, Brad Potts curling home a third Preston goal.
In a lively opening period, Dominic Iorfa had gone close to giving us an early lead when his header from Barry Bannan’s corner hit the top of the bar.
However, the visitors came back strongly and missed a handful of good chances in the first 15 minutes. Then, on the half hour, we had another let-off when Tom Barkhuizen broke clear and shot across Wildsmith but, thankfully, also just wide of the upright.
Alessio Da Cruz had an opening at the other end just before the break but took a shade too long to shoot and the danger was blocked.
Overall, we managed just two shots on target during the 90-plus minutes and were exposed too often at times at the other end by the speed of thought and movement from Preston.
Wildsmith, Palmer, Börner, Iorfa, Harris (Reach 89), Bannan, Luongo, Pelupessy, Murphy (Odubajo 62), Nuhiu, Da Cruz (Windass 70). Unused subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Hunt, Hughes, Grant, Shaw.