Youth team midfielder Jack Baxter felt conceding a stoppage time equaliser during a 3-3 draw away to Fleetwood Town was harsh on Preston North End’s youngsters.
Nick Harrison’s team took the lead in the contest with ten minutes remaining through U16 forward Ethan Walker, but the home side struck back in the 94th minute to earn a point.
Baxter, who was pleased by much of the Lilywhites’ attacking play despite the draw, said that late blow was tough on the team.
“It’s hard, especially considering how late it was,” the 17-year-old told PNE.com, speaking of the late goal. “I think there was only a couple of seconds left in the match, so it would be hard on any team and it’s cost us the three points today.
“We worked hard and we were in the lead until the very end. It would have been good to get the win but it didn’t go that way for us today. When you’re so close to winning and then the points are gone, it can feel like a loss and it’s hard to take.
“There were some very good goals today and some great finishes. Ethan [Walker] scored a great goal, Fenners [Lewis Fensome] scored a great goal and Adam’s finish was very good as well, so they were all good goals, it’s just unfortunate that that didn’t get us the three points.”
The Lilywhites had to end the game with ten men when Harry Garstang went off injured just after PNE’s third goal, with the side having already used all of their outfield substitutes.
Baxter said that was another aspect of the game to learn from, and encouraged the team to build on the draw by making a positive start in the new year, with the next league match now three weeks off – a home meeting against North West Youth Alliance leaders, Wigan Athletic.
“We had a lot of changes in the team and had a couple of injuries in the second-half, we ended up finishing the game with ten men which made it harder.
“Once we got the third goal and went down to men with Harry [Garstang] having to go off, it was just a case of needing to protect that lead and unfortunately we just couldn’t quite do that.
“It’s an experience to learn from because there will be other times when that happens and you’ve just got to learn how to deal with it, so it’s we can benefit from.
“We’re relatively high up in the league and still in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup and Youth Alliance Cup. We just need to keep going and hopefully do as well we can in the league and win as many cups as we can. We need to try to have a good start to the new year and get back to winning ways.”