PNE U18s produced an excellent second half performance to come back from 2-0 down, to win 4-2 against a bright Fleetwood Town side.
Jordan Scott took the captain's armband in the absence of Josh Brownhill and Sam Livesey came back into the starting XI after being out injured.
Fleetwood made a bright start to the match, with early pressure on the Lilywhites defence. Ross Dalton was called into action from a dangerously whipped in corner, which he caught well.
Chances came for Preston, five minutes in Jack Ryan got up for a header which Oliver Martin, in the away goal, managed to get hold of.
Nick Anderton broke forward not long before setting up Lyle Magolis at the edge of the area, who was closed down well by the Fleetwood defence.
Fleetwood's first goal came in the 16th minute. It was a stunning strike by the away side’s number ten, Kurt Willoughby - he shot from long distance, right into the top right hand corner.
Their second goal came shortly after, when a scramble in the area, and a defensive mix-up, saw the ball go in off Connor Smith to make it 2-0.
Preston gave themselves hope at the end of the first half when Ryan, with some wonderful skil,l swivelled past the Fleetwood defence and slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-1.
Following the goal, Preston ended the half well and more chances were coming. Magolis had another effort that went just over the bar.
Preston were well equipped to making a second half comeback.
In the opening stages of the second half, George Gray and Joe Whittington connected well with each other down the right, causing the Fleetwood defence problems.
Whittington, with a good ball in, found Josh Sampson who just missed with a glancing header.
Preston's pressure paid off when, on 53 minutes, they levelled the match at 2-2.
The influential Whittington was quick to react and got the last touch to put the ball in the back of the net, following a period of intense pressure from the Lilywhites.
The home side pushed for the winning goal, with numerous chances presenting themselves to Ryan.
Sampson was also unlucky not to get himself a goal from set pieces, the central defender looked a constant threat from corners.
Livesey, who completed 90 minutes on his return, was also threatening and he set up Magolis’ goal to take the lead 3-2 on 77 minutes, with a fantastically weighted ball.
The Lilywhites completed their fantastic comeback late on when Whittington's superb shot from outside the area left the keeper no chance to make it 4-2.
Preston had some good chances in the latter stages. Anderton had a free kick in a promising position but his shot was saved by the ‘keeper.
Jack Ryan made way for James Boyd late on. George Gray was unlucky not to make it 5-2 when a well struck shot by the defender saw the ‘keeper just tip the ball over the bar.
This win makes it five wins in a row for the youth team, showing great mental strength, coming back from behind. They next take on Bury, on Saturday, away from home.
PNE: Dalton, Gray, Anderton, Scott, Sampson, Roscoe, Livesey, Wicks, Ryan (84). Magolis, Whittington. Subs: Hagon, Hudson, Quigley, Robinson, Boyd (84)
Fleetwood: Martin, Oldpade, Vile (68), Smith, Muscat, Barret, Deacon, Williams, Wainwright, Willoughby, Conway Subs: Glean (68), Bleeker, Rajab, Nelson, Diab
Academy manager Nick Harrison was delighted with his side’s second half performance as they came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Victory Park.
He said: “I thought first half we were poor and they were very good. Second half I thought we were the better team and deserved to win in the end.
“First half though we were disappointed. Not with the result or going in at half time losing the game, it was just the performance was poor.
“We challenged them at half time to be better and they did that and they were excellent second half.
“We want them to win games, as we want that winning mentality, but most importantly we want performances and if we get performances like we got second half then we'll be really pleased.”
Harrison said on Joe Whittington: “It was a tale of two halves for all the players, Joe was excellent and deserved his goals. He effected the game more in the second half and got his rewards so really pleased for him”
Whittington, scorer of two Preston goals was happy with his contribution, saying: “I was happy, the emotion came out celebrating with my Mum but I had to reflect on the first 20 minutes when I didn't perform but I have to learn.
“We understand each other [Gray] I've known George a long time he's more of a direct player and wants to get past the half way line and get chances in so I have to help him with that
“We started off shaky losing against Oldham but now we've come back on fire. In pre-season we didn't really know who the team would be, we now feel like it's a strong team this year.”