Preston North End Academy manager Nick Harrison feels his side were left to rue their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal as they were beaten 1-0 by Lincoln City in the FA Youth Cup.
The third round tie at Deepdale seemed destined for extra time with little to separate the two sides, but a late Imps goal saw the young Lilywhites dumped out of the competition.
“All that matters is how many times you put the ball in the back of the net and I just don’t think we did that well enough,” Harrison told iFollow PNE.
“We weren’t ruthless in front of goal, a couple of chances that we had I think we hadn’t got enough to score. Whether it’s a shot off target or maybe just somebody taking an extra touch when they didn’t need to, that’s the story of the game.
“In the final third and in the box we’ve got to be more clinical and that’s exactly what we’ve said to the players at the end of the game. We’ve got a group of very disappointed boys and the coaches and staff are disappointed too.”
The North End backline limited the threat on Oliver Lombard’s goal well throughout, but a through ball split the defence and left striker Freddy Draper one-on-one with the PNE goalkeeper for the winner.
“I think the goal we conceded is just poor work in midfield,” Harrison added. “We gave the ball away and the two centre halves, who I thought we very good really throughout the game, just lose their man and they end up scoring.
“We’re disappointed with that goal because I thought we dealt with it throughout the game quite well. They had a number of chances and they’ve got a good group of players, but I actually thought we nullified it at times and we just didn’t on that occasion, and we end up losing the game.”
The home side’s starting XI for the tie featured two schoolboys, which was one of the positive factors from the outing for Harrison.
“We want to accelerate the good players and I thought they played their part,” he said. “It’s a massive learning curve and it’s the first time probably most of them have played at Deepdale and experienced that.
“It’s all about development and we can see a lot of progression and I’m sure they’ll benefit from it for the next chance that they’ll get playing in these types of games.
“We’ve got a large part of the season yet to go, loads of games. It’s up to the players really, they’ve got every opportunity to keep progressing and developing at this club.”
Watch more from Nick on iFollow PNE.