An entertaining opening quarter with plenty of goalscoring chances was as good as it got for the 21,212 in attendance as the encounter descended into a lacklustre affair.
If one team deserved to take the spoils, though, it was Leicester and they did so courtesy of Paul Gallagher's well-taken 36th-minute finish, the forward proving the difference against the team he spent four months on loan with in 2007.
It never promised to be a classic between two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table and with the two worst defensive records in the second tier.
And, crucially, it was Leicester who had their first clean sheet in 15 games to thank for all three points, although former centre-back Wayne Brown almost snatched a point for North End when his injury-time header drifted just inches wide.
Foxes boss Sven-Goran Eriksson made seven changes to the side which started Tuesday's 4-1 Carling Cup defeat to West Brom, reverting to his strongest line-up.
Darren Ferguson, in contrast, made just one switch from the line-up which saw off Crystal Palace 4-3 last weekend, Adam Barton coming in for the suspended Jon Parkin.
And it was the 19-year-old midfielder who should have broken the deadlock with just 25 seconds on the clock but he could only curl wide from 12 yards.
But he was not the only guilty party as the opening 20 minutes somehow passed by goalless.
Matchwinner Gallagher saw his blistering 30-yard drive tipped over by Andy Lonergan before Martyn Waghorn sliced wide for the hosts when in a really good position.
Barton then had another opportunity to open the scoring but saw his header pushed for a corner by Chris Weale, who should have been made to work harder.
Yet, as entertaining as the first quarter was, the following 15 minutes were beyond pedestrian - with North End almost completely stepping off the gas.
And it was Gallagher's perfectly-timed strike which woke the home fans from their slumber, the former Blackburn man receiving a neat pass from Yuki Abe before finding the bottom corner with a left-footed strike from 12 yards.
Leicester goalkeeper Weale did his best to hand North End an equaliser at the end of the first half with a sliced clearance which fell to Barton, who saw his goalbound effort blocked.
The second half continued in dull fashion and failed to get any better.
Preston defender Brown was booed at every opportunity on his return to the Walkers Stadium following his summer exit by mutual consent after a training ground bust-up, and his 67th-minute booking was no exception.
But a complete lack of goalmouth action after the break, with not one single chance of note, meant the final whistle could not come quick enough.
Yet it was Brown who came within a whisker of providing a dramatic conclusion when his 94th-minute header drifted just wide.