Preston North End’s Academy were beaten on Saturday by Blackpool in their first competitive game of 2014.
In a lightning quick start, Blackpool went ahead almost straight from kick off.
Preston were opened up by a through ball from Dion Charles into George Lomax, ensuring the deadly striker had the easiest of finishes sending Blackpool one up inside 20 seconds.
PNE’s response however was a perfect one.
A cross into Joe Whittington was neatly rounded off with the classiest of finishes from the 17-year-old, curling the ball past the helpless Daniel Milton to make the score all square.
The frantic opening to the game continued and the home side took the lead once again.
With just seven minutes on the clock, the combination of Charles and Lomax worked again for the Seasiders, a Charles corner finding the head of Lomax who in turn found the back of the net for the second time.
Not for the first time however, the Tangerines fell asleep after taking the lead.
Whittington who provided a few problems for the Blackpool defence in the first half, made a bursting run down the left flank before crossing the ball to the back post towards Jack Ryan.
The imposing striker made no mistake in nodding home, but only for it to be ruled out for an alleged push on a Blackpool defender in the lead up to the goal.
Both teams in the opening half hour had pretty much an equal share of possession, but it was Blackpool who looked the more dangerous in the opposing box.
Henry Cameron had a great chance to make it three had it not been for a last ditch tackle from Bradley Roscoe, before a pin point cross from Mitch Clayton found Lomax, but his header glanced off the bar.
Once the game settled down, Blackpool began to get a foot hold in the match, a teasing cross from Lomax forced the unfortunate Roscoe to prod the ball into his own net to make the scores 3-1 at the break.
Despite a deflating end to the first half for the Lilywhites, it was them who came out the quickest in the second.
Full back George Gray carved out an early opening, finding space down the right hand side before switching the ball to Sean Holmes, but he was unable to keep his shot down.
Captain, Tyler Forbes then made a surging run into the box before laying Whittington through on goal, however the angle was too acute for the wide man and he blazed over.
The bright opening gave Nick Harrison every indication that North End were getting back into the game, so it was even more frustrating when Blackpool added to their total shortly after.
A goalmouth scramble, which included two clearances off the line, eventually fell to Lomax who made no mistake from two yards out to grab his hat trick.
PNE manager Harrison responded by freshening things up, bringing on Ben Greenop and Clive Smith for Lyle Magolis and Whittington ten minutes into the second half and the change almost paid dividends immediately.
Smith, who slotted into the team nicely when he came on, played a part in a chance for Ryan just after the hour mark.
Ryan finding his way round the Blackpool defence before shooting just wide.
A dangerous pass across the Preston defence allowed Cameron to intercept with a chance at goal, springing goalkeeper Ross Dalton into action who parried his shot away for a corner.
A short free kick from Joe Moulden then caught PNE off guard, the defender cutting the ball back to Cameron, who squared it to substitute Rowan Richardson for him to find the net with 20 minutes remaining.
Richardson then grabbed his second and rounded off proceedings with a rather unorthodox slice into Dalton’s left hand corner on 84 minutes.
Although the damage was done, PNE still had plenty of spirited fight left in them.
Full back Nick Anderton, who was one of the standout performers for the away side, made a terrific run from the left before cutting inside and shooting from range, his shot however looped over.
Preston: Ross Dalton, George Gray, Bradley Roscoe, Josh Sampson, Nick Anderton, Jordan Scott, Sean Holmes, Joe Whittington, Lyle Magnolis, Tyler Forbes, Jack Ryan
Subs: Matthew Hudson, Harry Hagon, Clive Smith, Ben Greenop, Luke Pritchard
Blackpool: Daniel Milton, Connor Thurston, Harrison Mcgahey, Joe Moulden, Mitch Clayton, Henry Cameron, Sam Staunton-Turner, Mark Waddington, Dion Charles, George Lomax, Dom Telford
Subs: Kieran Shaw, Rowan Richardson, Rowley, Cato