PNE U18s were defeated on derby day as they lost 3-2 to Blackpool in the first game of the Professional Development Cup.
Kitt Nelson was in the goals once again as he scored a first half brace, however a second half comeback gave the Seasiders all three points.
Both teams were looking to get on the ball early and keep possession and it was North End that took the lead just eight minutes in.
A lovely move on the left between Nelson, Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile and Jacob Slater saw the latter get down the left, whip a ball to the back post where Ethan Eccleston was there to head back across goal for Nelson to tap home.
Just eight minutes later the visitors were level thanks to a wonder strike by Dannen Francis. The midfielder turned brilliantly on the edge of the area and fired a wicked curling effort right into the top left-hand corner.
No team was able to grab a foothold on the game as the ball continued to switch possession.
The Lilywhites did retake the lead once again thanks to Nelson. Noah Mawene’s long range effort was parried by the keeper, but Nelson was in the right place to follow up on the rebound to score his second of the game.
The second half continued in the same flow as the first with no team being able to keep hold of possession long enough to launch a meaningful attack.
North End made their first change with just over 30 minutes left, Eccleston was replaced by Callum Havard.
The Seasiders did get back on level terms 64 minutes in thanks to a strike by Luke Byron and then went in front two minutes later as Taylor Bowen placed his effort into the left-hand corner for the visitors.
North End reacted with by making their second change seeing Kian Taylor who was struggling with an apparent back injury be replaced by Izac Khan.
Chances were few and far between as the Lilywhites made their third change seeing Rodriguez-Gentile make way for Theo Carroll.
It was the visitors who came closest to another goal as the time fizzled away and the referee blew the full-time whistle.
Coach Andy Fensome was disappointed with the teams' second-half efforts.
“We weren’t brave enough,” said Fensome. “I don’t think we looked to pass the ball enough, there was sloppy defending, we weren’t looking to challenge enough.
“However, first half I thought we were good to ok, we passed the ball and moved it around quickly which was the reaction we wanted to see after last week.”
Even in defeat Fensome admits that there are positives to take from the game.
“I was pleased with the initial reaction from last weeks defeat,” stated Fensome.
“Kitt Nelson was able to score two good goals being in the right place at the right time.
“As well the players are continuing to develop which is always good to see.”
PNEU19 travel to Salford next week in the Youth Alliance League and Fensome would like to see another reaction from the team.
“We always look for some sort of a reaction every week,” said Fensome.
“We will want the players to develop and move on from this result and as a group and as individuals they will move on.
“You see it from the likes of Jacob Slater who has trained with the first team and now come back and brought everything he has to the team.”