Youth team forward Tyrhys Dolan felt the young Lilywhites were lacking in attack as they went down 3-1 to Wrexham at UCLan Sports Arena.
North End had plenty of possession against the Welsh side but struggled to create chances from that, while the visitors showed a ruthless touch in front of goal to lead 3-0 after 70 minutes, before Josh Pollard netted a consolation for Nick Harrison’s side.
Dolan, who is still only 16 but has regularly played up an age group with the youth team squad this season, suggested the Lilywhites lacked some cutting edge in the final third.
“I thought it was obviously a poor scoreline to finish with,” he told PNE.com. “We could have done much better and I thought when they dropped off, we didn’t complete enough runs in behind, we played it safe instead and didn’t have the runners helping Connor [Simpson] up front. It was just a tough game for us and we’re disappointed.
“We needed that pace to get in behind and have that running at the defence, the runners in behind to confuse the defenders. We made it easy for them because a lot of our play was in front of the defence. When we did try a long ball, it wasn’t getting to the target or it was just too short, so that end product was just missing.
“I thought I could have done a lot better because obviously, we lost the game and I could have got some more balls into the box for Connor. I thought I did some good things down the sides and looked a bit dangerous at times, but that wasn’t enough today.
“When we got that goal back, we got our hopes up a little and we did start to improve but we just didn’t have enough time really to get back into the game. We conceded too many goals and we conceded them too easily, which gave us too much to do to get back into the game.
“We can always learn from our mistakes, we obviously didn’t get the win today but we want to learn from it and bounce back next week. It starts with training on Monday, we will learn about it and improve and do some crossing and finishing work and bring it into next week’s game.”
Dolan showed plenty of promise in the defeat to Wrexham and it has been an encouraging campaign for the U16 attacker.
The fleet-footed forward, who joined up with North End’s academy from Manchester City last summer and has now moved into digs with youth teammates, said he is enjoying his football having played such a major role in the U18s side this term.
“I’m loving it here and enjoying the step up in age as well. It’s good having that confidence when you’re playing and knowing the team are backing you and trusting you and when you’re on the ball.
“I played on the wing a bit more at the start of the season and I find it okay there, even though attacking midfield is my preferred position. I like to play on the wing too because it’s something new and it allows you to keep learning new things.
“As an U16, you’ve got to adapt to the game physically and mentally as well because there’s more physical and stronger players, so you’ve got to match them with that and give it your best.
“You’ve got to take sacrifices for the things that you love and that’s what I’ve had to do. I stay down here during the week and go home at the weekend but I love being here, it’s class.”