A late Joe Rodwell-Grant goal wasn’t enough to spark a comeback as PNE were beaten 3-2 by Wigan Athletic.
The Latics went into the half-time break a goal to the good thanks to Will Keane’s opener, before a Tendayi Darikwa own goal drew the game level.
Second half strikes from Stephen Humprhys and Callum Lang then put the hosts in control, before Rodwell-Grant pulled one back in the closing stages.
It was a lively start to the game and PNE very nearly took the lead through trialist Jamie Thomas, who volleyed goalwards on the end of Josh Harrop’s cross, but it took a great Ben Amos reaction save to keep him out.
North End created two more chances within the next ten minutes too, with Sean Maguire first seeing a close-range effort blocked, while Josh Earl headed over from similar range after Patrick Bauer re-directed a corner across the box.
But those early chances soon meant nothing for the Lilywhites as Wigan took the lead on 26 minutes, with Keane making a great connection on Darikwa’s pass to slot home into the bottom corner.
Hudson stopped Wigan from doubling their lead on a couple of occasions, firstly denying a trialist with a smart save with his legs before later diving low to his left to keep out Luke Robinson from the edge of the box.
At the other end, Ben Amos was twice called into action in the same attack, keeping out Josh Harrop’s curling effort initially, and then getting back up to his feet to dive the other way to prevent Thomas’ shot finding the bottom corner.
North End came out unchanged after the break and all guns blazing, drawing level just three minutes into the second half. Thomas played a nice ball into Sinclair, who in turn sent an inviting cross into the area which Wigan defender Darikwa turned into the back of his own net under pressure from Sepp van den Berg.
The Lilywhites so nearly turned the game on its head in the next attack, with van den Berg rising highest from Harrop’s free-kick, but Amos tipped his header over the bar.
Instead, it was the hosts who got the next goal of the game and, despite strong handball appeals from PNE, Humphrys’ effort from inside the box was allowed to stand.
Wigan scored their third on 68 minutes, after Tom Bayliss was penalised for a trip 25 yards out, and substitute Lang got the ball up and over the wall from a free-kick and into the back of the net.
Josh Harrop twice came close through his own free-kicks, but both narrowly missed the target, and goalscorer Lang then saw his deflected shot bounce off the top of the bar.
There was time for another goal for the Lilywhites, with first-year pro Rodwell-Grant being sent one-on-one by Bayliss, and he kept calm to find the far corner for his goal in senior football.
Starting XI: Hudson, Rafferty, Bauer, van den Berg, Earl, Bayliss, Browne (Leigh, 61), Sinclair, Harrop, Thomas (Rodwell-Grant, 73), Maguire.