The U18s began the 2015/16 season with defeat at the hands of Wrexham.
PNE U18s boss Nick Harrison was frustrated his side couldn’t match their positive performance with a result, after the U18s got their 2015/16 campaign underway with a 3-1 defeat to Wrexham at the weekend, at a warm and sunny Colliers Park.
North End started the game well enough, but a wicked deflection saw the home side take the lead just minutes before the half-time whistle.
The goal was an unfair reflection of the first-half, with PNE creating a number of chances, but with no end product.
Melle Meulensteen came close inside the first 10 minutes with two long-range punts that sailed just wide of the target.
Adam James Robinson’s close range effort was cleared off the line just before the half hour mark, despite claims from the PNE touchline that the ball had gone in.
But the Lilywhites did level things up almost straight after the restart when Jonathan Lunney was fouled in the box - and it was Lunney himself who stepped up to convert the penalty just moments after being introduced to the game as a half-time substitute.
But Wrexham took the lead again mid-way through the second-half, after a free-kick from the byline was eventually bundled in - and the Dragons put the game out of PNE’s reach when Jamie McColl’s effort flicked in off the inside of the post, with 15 minutes to go.
The closest North End came to reducing the deficit came through Tom Barry, whose header at the back post diverted over the crossbar in the 85th minute.
“We’re certainly not happy with the result, but to take some positives away from the game, I felt we dominated the match,” acknowledged the youth team manager after his side couldn’t take advantage on the number of efforts on goal.
“We just couldn’t capitalise on the chances we created, but the frustrations again come from how we defended our box and how the ball came into our box.
"We conceded far too softly, and that’s something as a group we need to stop, but on a positive note, I’m pleased with how we dominated the game.”
For the first goal, Preston were disposed in their own box in the run up to the goal, and although Harrison told the Club website individual errors would be inevitable at this level, he wants his players to learn from the number of mistakes that cost them the result last Saturday.
He continued: “Today, we played from the back in the right manner when we could - and when we couldn’t, we targeted the centre forwards.
“But it all boils down to individual errors – you are going to concede goals if you play that way and it’s something we’re not too concerned about, but it’s something all of the players need to learn from when to play from the back, and playing in the right areas.”
The youth team have the chance to get back to winning ways next Saturday when they welcome Walsall to Central Lancashire, and the gaffer wants to use the disappointments of today to their advantage to ensure they get the first points on the board at the second opportunity.
“I don’t think they should forget about the result today,” said Harrison, on Saturday’s season opener.
“To the players, this should be something that hurts them because on reflection, in terms of chances and possession we’ve had, we really should have got a positive result.
“I think we should remember today’s result and learn from it, and learn how to defend a counter attack and how to defend when the ball comes into the box.
“More importantly, they’ve got to learn to put their chances away because we’ve created a hell of a lot of chances in the final third and we’ve not put the ball in the back of the net, and the game is all about what we do in their box and how we defend in our box and ultimately that’s cost us the game.”