Preston North End reserves lost 1-0 to Wrexham reserves in the second game of their Central League Cup campaign.
Kai Evans was the difference at Nantwich Town’s Swansway Stadium, as he curled a free-kick into the bottom corner on 28 minutes.
It was a young PNE side fielded, with the squad made up of scholars and young professionals, including Lewis Coulton and Josh Seary, who were eligible despite being out on loan.
It was almost a nightmare start for North End, as Trialist A broke through on goal inside the opening 20 seconds, but James Pradic’s save took the sting off the effort and Finlay Wallbank was able to clear off the goal-line.
Both sides then tried their luck from range, with Wrexham’s Evans firstly sending a 25-yard free-kick wide of goal, before Lewis Leigh fired two efforts over from a similar range at the other end.
The deadlock was broken on 28 minutes when Evans curled a low free-kick round the wall and into the bottom corner, after Pradic had been penalised and booked for bringing a forward down on the edge of the box.
Evans then could have had an assist to add to his goal, crossing from the left for Trialist B who headed over the bar.
Pradic was unfortunately forced off through injury after that chance, and his replacement Tommy Davis was called into action a few minutes after his introduction, denying Jake Bickerstaff from around 12 yards.
Davis had to make a couple of saves inside the opening stages of the second half, including in the 59th minute when goalscorer Evans broke through on goal, but the goalkeeper denied the No.7 as he attempted a chip from 30 yards.
A few moments later Noah Mawene found Finlay Cross-Adair with a cute, chipped pass, however a defender threw himself in front of it on its way to goal.
Cross-Adair was then involved in a contentious moment on 73 minutes as he appeared to have been brought down inside the area, but the referee saw differently, showing the centre forward a yellow card.
Trialist A soon had two big opportunities to double Wrexham’s lead, firstly sending a first-time effort wide from close range, before he was superbly denied by Davis from a one-on-one situation.
Evans also had a big chance three minutes from time, making room by shifting the ball onto his right foot, before firing over the bar, and the game ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts.
The result means North End have taken three points from their opening two Central League Cup games, with the final group match coming away to Wigan Athletic on 15th November.
Wrexham line-up: Watson; Jones (Milner, 90+2), Butler, Davies, Rainbird; Trialist, Jenkins (Jones, 77), Mountfield (Oliver, 45), Evans; Trialist, Bickerstaff. Subs not used: Calderbank-Park, Milner.
PNE line-up: Pradic (Davis, 35); Wallbank, Best, Coulton (McGhee, 72); Seary (Pemberton, 53), Leigh, Amaral, Mawene (Eccleston, 86), Slater; Cross-Adair, Nelson. Subs not used: Khan.
Referee: Mr G Kearney.