PNE Academy suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wrexham on a blustery afternoon in north Wales.
Shortly after, Preston winger Luke Pritchard was subject to a highly controversial moment when he was bearing down on goal one-on-one with the goalkeeper when he appeared to be tripped.
With what looked to be a straight red card for the defender, the referee pulled out a yellow card for the PNE forward suggesting simulation, leaving the away side furious.
Wrexham’s John Smith then had a chance to double the lead for the hosts when he burst clear down the left side of the box, but he was denied by the intimidating frame of Matthew Hudson who got down well to his left to tip round the post.
Shortly after, there was a defensive mix up between Wrexham’s goalkeeper Adam Whitlock and defender Leo Smith which saw the ball fall to Lamin Jagne 25 yards out with a vacant goal gaping, but he miss-connected and his effort was cleared off the line.
Hudson was on hand again to keep Preston in the game when he tipped goalscorer, Reynolds’ effort round the post after he shaped his right foot shot from the left channel to the far corner.
PNE had a chance to draw level on the stroke of half-time when Eddie Dsane beat the offside trap down the right flank and flashed a cross towards the six yard box, but captain Bradley Roscoe couldn’t quite find that extra yard to poke the ball home.
After manager Nick Harrison got into his players at half-time, the U18’s seemed rejuvenated early in the second half.
Roscoe was leading by example winning plenty of big tackles in midfield, putting the team on the front foot.
Adam Joseph Robinson replaced Jagne and had a significant impact on the side when introduced.
The midfielder immediately slipped in Pritchard towards the left by-line who cut back towards the six yard box, but his cross was scrambled clear by Wrexham defenders.
Shortly after, the same pair combined to draw North End level.
Robinson used the wind to his advantage bending in a swirling left footed corner which saw Pritchard climb above the rest to nod home from close range.
Hudson yet again kept the Lilywhites in the contest making the save of the game when Smith broke down the right side of the box and struck a fierce effort across goal, but the PNE shotstopper managed to claw the ball away at full stretch, diverting his effort onto the post.
Ben Roberts then missed a great chance to put the Academy ahead, when another teasing set piece from Robinson picked out the forward, but he could only guide his header just wide of the target.
Preston were having their best spell of the match with a flurry of chances, but they still couldn’t capitalise and with Wrexham knocking on the door the game was thoroughly in the balance.
The Welsh side’s goalscorer Reynolds was replaced by Richard Harvey Davies, and it was the substitute who managed to put them in the lead for a second time.
James Quigley tackled Jack Davis, but the ball fortuitously found its way to Harvey Davies in the centre of the box, and he managed to squirm his shot low past Hudson to make it 2-1.
With Preston frantically trying everything to get back into the game, Dsane managed to wriggle free of his defender down the right and teed up Roscoe who was waiting just inside the box, however the captain skied his effort high and wide, summing up a frustrating afternoon for the Academy.
Wrexham then had a third goal disallowed which gave PNE some hope, but their last gasp attempts mounted to nothing of note and Wrexham were able to see out the match, earning a memorable victory.
PNE XI: Matthew Hudson, Clive Smith, Sean Whelan, Bradley Roscoe, Ellis Hancox, Harry Hagon, Ben Roberts, Lamin Jagne, Eddie Dsane, James Boyd, Luke Pritchard
Subs: James Quigley, Ross Dalton, Adam Joseph Robinson, Jonathan Lunney