Preston North End suffered a derby day defeat as they were punished by a clinical and resolute Burnley side.
Burnley took the lead through Bradley Jackson midway through the first half, before eventually sealing all three points in the second period with goals from Brandon Wilson and Jamal Crawford.
While the score-line flattered Burnley, Preston Manager Nick Harrison had reason for optimism with the display that his side showed in the face of adversity.
He said: “We had a shaky start, but once we got to grips with the game after the first ten minutes we were excellent.
“We are disappointed with the result but this is youth football, it’s all about development and developing players ready for the first team and I thought that the performances were excellent.”
Burnley started the brighter and forced the issue early on, hitting the crossbar inside two minutes as the ball scrambled around inside the six-yard box as Preston were unable to clear a corner.
PNE soon began to settle, and were getting back into the game when Burnley took the lead.
Winning the ball in midfield, the away side countered in numbers, and a cross found Jackson who fired home from close range.
Preston did have chances of their own before half-time, but both Eddie Dsane and Luke Pritchard were denied by good saves from Clarets’ goalkeeper Tony Aghayere.
Although Preston looked to force proceedings early on after the break, Burnley doubled their lead.
Again, winning the ball in midfield, Burnley countered quickly, and a ball into the box found Wilson who gave his side the perfect start to the second half.
Preston resiliently continued to try and get back into the game, barely allowing Burnley out of their half, but were unable to breakthrough.
After a solid period of pressure from the home side, Burnley managed to force their way out and into Preston territory.
Winning a free-kick on the edge of the North End area, Jamal Crawford stepped up, and for the third time gave Preston keeper Ross Dalton no chance as he sealed the win.
A brilliant free-kick capped off a resolute display for the visitors, who despite having captain Waqaz Azam booked late on, left Victory Park unscathed, surviving a full defensive examination from Preston.
While losing was not the result that Preston wanted, captain Bradley Roscoe agreed with his manager that there was plenty of positives to take from the performance.
He said: “I thought we did pretty well today, the boys gave their best but Burnley finished their chances and we didn’t; that was the difference.
“It’s just little mistakes that have cost us, and when we have been in front of goal we haven’t scored and on a different day that might be completely different and we go on to win.”
The character displayed from the Academy was admirable as they fought to the end in a score-line that certainly flattered the Clarets.
Roscoe added: “I thought that in the last 20 minutes we really pushed on, and if we had finished our chances the game could have been a different story.
“But it’s brilliant character from the boys and hopefully we can use that next week.”
Harrison added: “The character is very good and they have that within them.
“We have questioned them on their mentality, have they got what it takes, and although they got beat three-nil today, I think they’ve shown that they’ve got plenty of will-power and desire to succeed.
“But to win games you have to score goals and stop them from scoring and that’s the part that we didn’t do.
“We had more chances than them; we had more entries into the final third than them which is what we’ve been asking the players to do.
“We just need a bit more devilment and desire to put the ball in the back of the net and obviously defend their counter-attack better, but the performance was very good.”
Preston will hope to learn from the defeat and return to winning ways as they face Oldham Athletic next weekend, where they will also be looking to take revenge from the 5-0 defeat they suffered two weeks ago.
Preston XI: Dalton, Smith, Whelan, Roscoe, Sampson, Hagon, Lunney, Robinson, Dsane, Boyd, Pritchard.
Subs: Wicks, Hudson, Robinson, Roberts, Jagne