Preston North End U19s began their season campaign with a 3-2 victory against Rochdale.
Goals from Callum Havard, Josh Seary and Cole McGhee in the first half sealed the win against a persistent Rochdale side.
In the away fixture held at Springfields, North End started the game quickly, but it took an excellent save from Tommy Davis to deny Rochdale an early opener.
Just a few minutes into the contest North End got the breakthrough with Kaedyn Kamara’s cross leading to a cool tap in from Havard.
It was Preston who continued to challenge for another goal, and they did just that with an exquisite first-time volley taken by Seary in the 13th minute.
A third followed in the 33rd minute, this time McGhee’s header on target forced a mistake from the Rochdale keeper and the ball went straight between his hands and into the back of the net.
With a three-goal advantage going into the second half, North End were in a comfortable position, but were met by a pressing Rochdale in the final 45.
And just nine minutes into the second half, they pulled one back- with a left foot finish finding the back of the net.
Rochdale almost got another in the 58th minute, but a vital goal line clearance provided by Kacper Pasiek maintained the Lilywhites strong lead.
But the 65th minute saw Dale get their second.
Shortly afterwards, Nelson tried his luck with a shot just inside the box, for it to go just over the crossbar.
North End’s determination to get the victory was clear, and chances on target from both Pasiek and Havard were unlucky not to find the net.
An extended period of added time saw a frustrated Rochdale side receive a red card, and the final whistle blew with Preston North End victorious on the opening day.
Speaking after the game, manager Andy Fensome said he was pleased with the first half performance but frustrated with the second half.
“I thought we played excellent in the first half; we played some really good football and we moved the ball well.
“We created chances, just totally dominated the first half and then it sort of turned around second half really.
“We didn’t come out and do the things we’re good at doing.
“We won the game, and in the first half we did really well - second half not so well and we’ll go back and analyse it and talk about it next week.”
Scorer Josh Seary spoke about finding the net and how training and playing with the first team this summer has helped him to progress.
He said: “It was good to get some minutes in the legs.
“First half I thought we played very well; it was good to get on the scoresheet at that back post and then second half was a bit sloppy, but we got the win, so I suppose that’s a positive.
“It (first team training) definitely helped me being around top-class players every day.
“It’s only going to make you a better player, it’s definitely improved me and hopefully it can just keep improving me as a player.”
Preston North End: Davis, Wilkinson, Khan, Horan, McGhee, Pasiek, Seary (Eccleston 63), Kamara, Nelson, Goldsmith, Havard (Wilson 88).
Subs not used: Stowell, Critchley, Brindle.