A last minute winner denied PNE U18s taking a point back to Preston, losing 1-0 to Blackpool at Squires Gate training ground.
The defeat was the second time in as many games North End were denied in the last minute after Wrexham’s late equaliser in a 2-2 draw last time out.
Manager Nick Harrison made two changes from that side with Dylan Davidson coming back from injury to replace Josh Earl, whilst captain Sean Whelan was missing through injury seeing Jack Burgoyne return to the side with Melle Meulensteen deputising the armband.
Missing also was Mathew Hudson and Clive Smith, both of whom travelled with the first-team, but despite the loss of personnel at the back, North End were defensively solid throughout barring one or two moments, only for one of those moments to come in the 89th minute when Pool’s Rowan Roaches was allowed time to fire across goal and into the corner of the net seeing the hosts snatch all three points.
As a team, right up to until their goal we defended well,” told Harrison who acknowledged his side’s performance as a whole.
“Blackpool caused us one or two problems which you’d expect but we defended well, got back in numbers, individuals defended well with one on ones and we were overall pleased with how we played.
“We felt we should have been in the lead by half-time and we had enough chances to be in front but we just couldn’t hit the back of the net.”
North End started the brighter with Jonathan Lunney and Freddie Tracey both having efforts wide of the mark inside 20 minutes, whilst Blackpool’s Christian N’Guessan’s volley from just outside the area marked the only shot on target in the first-half.
The second half was a similar tight affair, Roberts was forced into action with two fairly routine saves from Anthony Cato and Caleb Richards, whilst James Boyd had two half chances of breaking the deadlock – the first saw Boyd meet Tracey’s knock down to fire just wide, whilst the second came from the boot of Jonathan Lunney whose cross saw Boyd just about meet it, but his header was just over.
Alieu Njie had a golden opportunity to give Blackpool the lead 12 minutes from time only for him to fire wide with the goal gaping, and Boyd almost made him pay with an audacious volley that would have gone down as one of the goals of the season had it bulged the net, but instead it whistled past the post.
With just seconds left of normal time, it looked as though both sides were going to take a well-earned point, only for a lapse in concentration within the North End back line saw Roache advance from the left before firing past the out-stretching Roberts and into the goal to give Blackpool the spoils.
Speaking after the game, Harrison was left to rue individual errors that denied them taking a deserved point back to Central Lancashire.
“That’s two games where we’ve conceded in the last minute,” he added.
“The little things we’ve spoke about in the week about game management were just not quite done well enough again. The goals come from three individual errors and we expect the players to be better than that.
We felt we played well enough over the course of the game. I thought first-half we were the better team. Second half, Blackpool came at us which we expect but really if every individual does their job right, the game finishes 0-0 and that’s what should have happened which is the disappointing aspect.
“But it could have gone either way because of the nature of the game. We had two or three good chances in the first-half that we should have took and if we take them the game changes and that’s been a story throughout the season.
“If we go one or two nil up which we should have done, then we might keep the ball better and Blackpool might have to come at us more and it opens it up. It’s all about scoring goals and not conceding and unfortunately we couldn’t score the goals, and we’ve switched off at the last minute and conceded.
“The players are disappointed and we are as a group of staff because we want the boys to win games. It’s all very good performing well but the next level is about winning and getting some points and we should have done that so we’ll pick the boys up and it’s up to them to get themselves going again.”
PNE XI: C Roberts, Tait, A Jo Robinson, Jagne (Barry 84’), B Roberts, Burgoyne, Lunney, Boyd, Tracey, Meulensteen, Davidson.
Subs not used: Crankshaw, Cottam, Earl, Hancox