Eddie Lewis went from sinner to saint as he volleyed home a 20-yard wonder goal to salvage a point for Preston at Highfield Road.
The American gifted Coventry a clumsy first-half penalty which was gratefully dispatched by Patrick Suffo, before atoning for the error with a strike to remember in the 68th minute.
But the goals were the only highlights in a dire match which solidifies Preston's mid-table position, but leaves Coventry stuck firmly in the relegation battle.
Preston's Graham Alexander spurned the first opening of the game on five minutes when Lewis found him unmarked at the far post. The 33-year-old defender dragged his half-volley wide of the far post.
Dickson Etuhu also missed the target for the visitors with a rising shot on 18 minutes which squirmed through keeper Luke Steele's hands before looping over the bar.
Suffo, on in place of the injured Stern John, went closest for the Sky Blues from a Michael Doyle corner in the 25th minute.
The Cameroon international leapt freely on the six-yard line, but his fierce header was well saved by ex-Coventry keeper Gavin Ward, before being ruled out for a Dean Leacock push.
But the game sparked into life just four minutes after the interval when Lewis foolishly bundled Andy Morrell to the floor inside the box.
Morrell had been played clean through by Suffo, who then sent Ward the wrong way from the penalty spot to notch his fourth goal of the season.
Coventry boss Peter Reid was left fuming 15 minutes later when Manchester United loan star Eddie Johnson swivelled on a Doyle corner and drilled the ball home, only for referee Kevin Wright to blow up for pushing.
With the home fans still complaining, Preston forced a corner of their own and when the ball broke kindly to Lewis twenty yards out, the 30-year-old took one neat touch before pounding a vicious strike into the far corner.
Preston, who sat five places above Coventry going into the fixture, should have taken the game to the home side in closing stages, but instead it was the home side who pressed forward.
Doyle went close with curling 30-yard free-kick with five minutes to play, but neither side had the edge or quality to earn the win they so desperately needed.