Preston North End 2 Hull City 1
Paul Simpson's side cruised into a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead at Deepdale but they struggled to maintain their flowing football after the break.
Preston striker Daniele Dichio opened the scoring after just 48 seconds. David Nugent played the ball to Simon Whaley who in turn found the veteran striker. Dichio's ten-yard right-foot shot flew into the bottom left-hand corner of the net past the despairing dive of Tigers keeper Boaz Myhill.
Just 60 seconds later City almost responded in the perfect fashion when Danny Mills crossed for Stuart Elliott to launch his head to the ball but Preston keeper Carlo Nash made a good save.
The visitors continued to press and Nicky Forster's shot flew wide of the right-hand post while at the other end Nugent's12-yard shot was saved by Myhill.
Craig Fagan was booked for dissent in the 27th minute before Dichio scored his sixth goal in a Preston shirt when he headed home his second of the afternoon eight minutes before the interval. Whaley hit over a right-foot cross from the right wing which Dichio headed past Myhill from six yards out.
Hull should have pulled a goal back on the half-time whistle when Nash could only parry Mills' long-range shot and, with the keeper on the floor, Forster contrived to head the ball over the bar in front of an open goal.
In the first minute of the second half John Welsh's 25-yard right-footed shot was saved low down to his right by Nash and Whaley had a 20-yard right-foot shot that was easily saved by Myhill.
Whaley shot wide and Welsh had a header saved before Graham Alexander forced a good save out of Myhill with a right-foot shot.
Forster hit a 12-yard right-foot shot which Nash could only parry and Welsh hit the rebound home left-footed from six yards out to make it 2-1 in the 58th minute.
Hull's Damien Delaney and Forster were booked for fouls within 60 seconds of each other midway through the second half before Jon Parkin replaced the ineffective Danny Coles.
Preston brought on Lewis Neal for Whaley while Tigers boss Phil Parkinson introduced Ryan France for Craig Fagan but the visitors could not force an equaliser.