Daniel Iversen's late own goal gave Luton their first victory at Deepdale since 1972 as they claimed a 1-0 win over Preston.
The unfortunate goalkeeper got the last touch with striker James Collins lurking as Preston's lack of creativity and chances came back to haunt them.
It was a pattern all too familiar for Preston fans who, if they had been in attendance, would have seen little goalmouth action this season, especially since the turn of the year.
Luton looked confident coming to Deepdale, slightly above North End in mid-table and with three wins out of the last five.
And they had the first effort, Elijah Adebayo's deflected shot from the edge of the area skewing wide.
Alex Neil's side, with one win in eight, lacked confidence and it showed. No shortage of effort but crucial passes going astray and failing to assert any dominance.
It was a set-piece created on Merseyside that saw them threaten the goal for the first time as former Everton youngster Ryan Ledson crossed for Liverpool loanee Sepp Van Den Berg to head over.
At the other end, Liam Lindsay was caught dallying on the ball by Harry Cornick, and the Preston centre-half breathed a huge sigh of relief when Cornick's goalbound effort was blocked.
Cornick's main influence was his long throws. As good as a corner, hurling them in flat and fast, looking for a flick-on was providing Luton with a threat.
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu almost opened the scoring for Hatters. His speculative long-range effort took a wicked deflection, but only dipped enough to land on the roof of the net rather than below it.
Then, Luton right-back James Bree - who scored his first career goal in midweek - unleashed a low drive from range, forcing Iversen to tip around the post. From the resulting corner, the ball ended up with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall who volleyed just wide.
Bree then landed a cross just in front of Adebayo, who directed his header back to the far post, finding the palm of Iversen who got a firm hand on it.
Having no joy creating any chances of note, Preston forwards Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen were finally introduced to do exactly that.
Within minutes of coming on Maguire made a nuisance of himself, while Barkhuizen went in on a 50/50 with goalkeeper Simon Sluga who bravely saved, picking up a knock in the process.
But, with seven minutes to go, it was Luton who got the all-important goal.
Mpanzu whipped a delightful cross into the six-yard box, Iversen made a magnificent save from a Dewsbury-Hall diving header but substitute Collins reacted quickest and steered in from a tight angle, the ball going in off the unfortunate Iversen.
Sluga denied a Maguire header late on to ensure Luton grabbed a deserved three points.
What the managers said...
Preston's Alex Neil: "I won't lie, it's probably as difficult as it's ever been for me. I've always been fighting middle to top of the table, it's tough. People talk about knowing your best team and I used to get criticised for having my best team and playing it more often than people thought I should have.
"If I'm being brutally honest at the moment I haven't got a scooby-doo what the best team is. Because what happens is, what I get from one week to the next, God knows. Your best team generally, you have reliability in it. You know what you are getting week in week out. At the moment we are nowhere near that."
Luton's Nathan Jones: "We are trying to make sure we keep climbing the league. First half was lacklustre. If we had a bit more quality, we could have created a lot more. In the second half we picked it up slightly and I felt we deserved a win.
"I felt if we had just stepped it up a little bit the game was there to be won. That is not being disrespectful in any way. We needed to up our game."