A controversial 2-1 win at the City Ground saw Preston end Nottingham Forest’s disappointing season with defeat.
Indeed, the Reds had expected to challenge for promotion, but instead flirted with relegation for much of the season.
The loss was the quintessence of familiar problems, as the Reds missed a host of chances after James Garner had given them the lead with a spectacular long-range strike.
In the 53rd minute, Tom Bayliss scored from close range before Liam Lindsay scored the winner for Preston after referee Darren Bond either failed to see or overlooked an offside flag.
Ryan Yates missed the target with a shot from the edge of the box as Forest looked to take the early lead.
Priceson came even closer after a mistake by Brice Samba. The keeper tried to intercept a cross, but Ched Evans beat him to it and put his header against the crossbar.
A complicated build-up play ended with Filip Krovinovic’s shot just over the goal – and then it was Forest who got going.
Krovinovic played a simple pass to Garner 25 yards from goal, but the Manchester United loanee fired the ball past the far post to put the hosts ahead in spectacular fashion in the 17th minute.
With better control of the ball in the box, Anthony Knockaert could have scored Forest’s second, while Yates sent another effort just wide.
Denmark’s Daniel Iversen failed to make a brilliant save from Lewis Grabban and Knockaert just missed the target with a shot from 20 yards.
Preston had some dangerous moments, but it was Forest who had more chances to increase the score.
The ball was in the net for Lyle Taylor, but referee Bond felt Joe Worrall had committed a foul when he headed the ball down for the striker.
Forest had a great chance to add to their tally shortly after the break when they set up a four-on-one, but Krovinovic shot wide when he could have picked out Grabban for an easy finish.
This was to prove a defining moment as Preston quickly equalized. Scott Sinclair laid on for Bayliss, who finished with a delightful ball from the left from close range.
Yates fired another effort from the edge of the box just wide of goal as Forest tried to restore their lead. Taylor tried a similar effort which also missed.
Preston’s second goal was controversial, as Bond disregarded an offside flag from his assistant. Play continued, and on the next attack Evans played the ball into the path of Lindsay, who scored with his head in the 67th minute.
Forest, who had not played with such pressure in the second half, could not get the equalizer.