Preston manager Phil Brown was left to curse his side's knack of "shooting ourselves in the foot" after he was denied his first win in charge by two goals in the last 20 minutes in a 2-2 draw at Watford.
Captain Sean St Ledger took just 40 seconds to put North End ahead and Leon Clarke doubled the lead before half-time. But Watford substitutes Matt Whichelow and Adam Thompson replied after the break to leave the Lilywhites staring relegation in the face and without a win since December 11.
North End are now nine points from safety but Brown was left to cling on to the positives of his side's early performance, saying: "The first-half performance was very encouraging on a pitch that was terrible.
"They threw the kitchen sink at us and their changes changed the course of the game. We got to 65 minutes 2-0 up but we shoot ourselves in the foot every week."
He added: "We dropped two points and our immediate challenge is to get off the bottom and we had the chance to do that."
An upbeat Brown refused to throw in the towel and believes a run of wins to take North End to safety is possible.
He said: "I'm waiting too long for my first win but I believe that when we do get it we are good enough to pick up two, three or four wins quickly.
"We have made improvements steadily since I came in and we now play the champions elect in QPR.
"We will be buoyed by the positives to take from here and we aim to put a spanner in the works for QPR on Saturday."
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