Full-time: Scunthorpe United 2 Preston North End 3
Scunthorpe United's miserable record at Glanford Park hit new depths as they conceded three goals in the opening 36 minutes against Preston North End.
Strikers Leon Clarke and Karl Hawley both struck later on for the Iron - ending a 19-match run of having failed to score two goals in a league game - but a late rally could not stop them sliding to a fourth defeat in six matches.
United, who surprisingly left out defender David Mirfin despite his return from suspension, went a goal down after only 28 seconds when Nicky Wroe fired in the first of his first-half hat-trick folowing a knock down inside the box.
The midfielder was also in the right place at the right time to double North End's lead just before the half hour mark, after Josh King had gone clear down the right flank.
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The second goal came just as the home side had begun to assert themselves going forward and their misery was compounded six minutes later when Wroe struck again from a free-kick, though the ball took a wicked deflection off the Iron defence to leave goalkeeper Sam Slocombe stranded.
The match, in which the atmosphere was as murky as the weather, bore incredible similarities to the last time Preston had visited Glanford Park on a Tuesday night in March 2011.
On that occasion the visitors led 3-0 at the break in front of a low crowd and manager Ian Baraclough paid the ultimate price, losing his job hours later.
Clarke at least the home side hope of a stirring comeback this time, following up his initial shot, which had been kept out by visiting shot-stopper Steve Simonsen three minutes from half-time.
Scunthorpe brought on Michael Collins for Robbie Gibbons at the start of the second half and tried to take the game to the Lilywhites.
Mark Duffy chipped an effort into the side netting after working himself an opening but efforts at either end were few and far between as United struggled to find a spark - until the 72nd minute.
Hawley picked up possession outside the visiting area and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top left corner, his third goal in as many appearances.
Scunthorpe thought they had found an equaliser with only 60 seconds remaining, but Simonsen reacted instinctively to brilliantly flick away a later header from Clarke which looked destined for the back of the net.
Instead, they were staring down the barrel of another defeat and remain entrenched in the bottom four.
SCUNTHORPE: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Reid (Mirfin 36), Canavan, Newey, Duffy, Prutton, Gibbons (Collins 46), Ryan (Jennings 72), Clarke, Hawley. Subs not used: Severn, Kennedy, Walker, Grella
PRESTON: Simonsen, Laird, Huntington, Robertson, Cansdell-Sherriff, Keane, Wroe, Welsh, Monakana (Amoo 67, Byrom 90)), King, Beavon (Procter 86). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Beardsley, Cummins, Sodje.