Joe Blanchard admitted PNE U18 were punished for their own mistakes in their 4-4 draw with Tranmere Rovers.
The youth team’s last game of the season was packed with action, and they took the lead on three separate occasions in the match.
However, their North West Youth Alliance league opponents netted a hat-trick of equalisers, the last of which coming in the 89th minute, to deny a season-ending victory for North End.
Reflecting on his thoughts at full-time, the 17-year-old said: “Disappointed, obviously, because we were in such a good position, just to throw it away like that at the end.
“I think it’s just come down to them capitalising on mistakes that we made throughout the game, and they’ve obviously gone and scored from these.
“In future, we can only learn from it and not make the mistakes like we did today, because teams will punish when mistakes are made, and I think that’s what happened today. At the end, everyone was gutted.”
The attacking trio of Joe Rodwell-Grant, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson and Noah Mawene (two) all got on the scoresheet, but they all also hit the woodwork, along with Mikey O’Neil, who nearly won it for the young Lilywhites in added time but had his curling effort tipped onto the post.
With other chances going begging too, Blanchard felt frailties at both ends of the pitch contributed to the unsatisfying result.
“I think we’ve got to look at both ends of the pitch in attack and defence,” he said. “We did score four goals today, we could’ve scored more.
“Then you’ve got to look at the defence as well. By conceding four, we don’t make it easy for ourselves. We concede and then straight away we’ve got to go out and look for another goal.
“We conceded too easy today and yeah, we could’ve scored more, but by conceding that many we’re not making it easy for ourselves or the forwards, so I think it’s a bit of both.”
With the season brought to an end at the final whistle, the first year scholar provided an honest assessment of the campaign.
“I’d say it’s been very inconsistent for myself, to be honest,” he said. “A lot of good performances mixed with bad and average performances, so for me it’s about learning and keeping up consistency for next year.
“My personal reflection of my performance I think is also very similar to the whole team’s performance. We’ve gone through good runs of winning games and playing well, and then the next minute just as long a run of losing and not playing well.
“I think it’s just about maintaining that level of performance, keep winning games but when it’s not going our way let’s pull together and try to at least get something out of the game.”