Andrew Hughes recognised that PNE’s missed chances towards the end of the first half against Brighton and Hove Albion could have made for a much different game.
Jayden Stockley and Patrick Bauer both came close to opening the scoring in the final five minutes of the first half, but neither could find the back of the net and the Lilywhites were punished as second half goals from Alizera Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister gave Brighton the 2-0 win.
Hughesy told iFollow PNE: “I think we had a good chance with Jayden and the ‘keeper has pulled off a great save and Pat was unlucky off the corner as well hitting the crossbar.
“I think from what I can remember they were our clearest chances. Against the Premier League teams you have to take your chances and if not you get punished and that was the case.
“I thought we were good first half, we matched them, there wasn’t a lot in the game. Second half [they] slightly dominated the game and started to create gaps and I think that’s where they got most of their joy. For us to get anything from that game, we needed to get a goal first half then hold on.
“It’s the same with any Championship team. When you go 1-0 down, it’s giving yourself a mountain to climb and especially against a Premier League side, it’s always going to be tough. We gave it our all today and it’s unlucky that we’re out.
“Them goals there, what can you do? It’s a great finish. I think it took a deflection off Jordan Storey or his player whizzed past me and next minute I turned around and it’s in the back of the net.
“On another day he probably would have missed it and we may have had another chance but it’s one of them games.”
This evening’s defeat puts an end to North End’s Carabao Cup campaign, but Championship action is coming thick and fast in the next month or so starting with Stoke City at Deepdale this weekend.
Hughesy said: “We’re behind schedule as it is with all that’s gone on, but it’s always good to have a game in short succession because you can just wipe that game off tonight and go again Saturday.
“We really need to get a win on Saturday and I’m sure that’s what we’re going to focus on doing.
“We’re prepping all the time. We’re in tomorrow so we’ve got two days to prepare for Saturday.”