Lilywhites skipper Tom Clarke put the Lilywhites ahead just after the hour mark and Joe Garner converted a penalty five minutes later to hand the Sky Blues a third successive defeat.
City boss Steven Pressley rang three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Rochdale at Spotland the previous weekend, bringing back Ryan Haynes, Marcus Tudgay and Danny Swanson to replace Danny Pugh and injured duo Frank Nouble and Conor Thomas.
What the opening stages lacked in terms of opportunities it certainly seemed to make up for in committment and desire as both sides played out a physical first 15 minutes which saw Swanson go into the referee's book for a challenge on Chris Humphrey.
The first real opportunity fell to the visitors after 20 minutes though when Paul Gallagher's free-kick delivery picked out Bailey Wright who clipped the top of City's crossbar with his header.
The Sky Blues were a whisker away from carving out a chance of their own just after the half hour when a ball over the top from John Fleck nearly found the oustretched boot of Simeon Jackson who streamed through the heart of the back four unchallenged but couldn't tame Fleck's delivery.
The remainder of the half passed with very little incident as the clash became a tactical showcase as both sides tried to unlock each other.
The encounter continued in the same vein after the interval and it was not until the 58th minute when another chance was crafted by the Lilywhites when Joe Garner got down the byline and fired a short pass goalward looking for Humphrey who was outdone by Ryan Haynes' sliding goal line clearance.
Three minutes later Preston were ahead though courtesy of skipper Clarke. Haynes' challenge on Humphrey earned him a caution and Gallagher stepped up to whip a low delivery into the six-yard box with the visiting captain stabbed home past Ryan Allsop.
The visitors then doubled their lead five minutes later from the penalty spot after Seb Hines brought Garner down in the area. The Preston striker dusted himself off and made no mistake with the spot kick which he dispatched into the bottom corner despite Allsop guessing the right way.
The addition of a third striker in Shaun Miller at the expense of Andy Webster saw Pressley increase his attacking options in the hope of trying to reduce the deficit but Preston then shut up shop at the back to see out the tie and see City slip out of the top half of the League One table.
Attendance: 10,006 (783 away)
Coventry City: Allsop, Willis, Clarke, Webster (c) (Miller 73), Hines, Haynes, Swanson (Coulibaly 63), O'Brien, Fleck, Tudgay, Jackson (McQuoid 63)
Subs: Burge (GK), Pugh, Phillips, Finch
Preston North End: Jones, Wiseman (Woods 85) , Clarke (c), Wright, Humphrey (Reid , Kilkenny, Gallagher (Robinson 76), Garner, Buchanan, Brownhill, Browne
Subs: Stuckmann (GK), Laird, King, Hayhurst