Preston North End U19s suffered a 4-1 defeat against rivals Blackpool at Bloomfield Road in the final match of the 2022/23 season.
A late first-half equaliser followed by three goals in the second period for the hosts saw them soar to victory after Theo Mawene had given North End the lead.
Tommy Davis was called into action early on, making an excellent point-blank save after the ball was lofted into the area.
North End were enjoying great passages of play without creating too much – the first chance falling to Ellis Horan whose long-range effort was comfortably saved by Harvey Bardsley.
The Lilywhites had a great opportunity to take the lead when Kacper Pasiek drove down the left and squared the ball across to Theo Carroll who couldn’t find the target.
North End did finally find the back of the net in the 23rd minute as great work on the edge of the area saw Mawene find his way through on goal, and he was able to compose himself to fire past the ‘keeper.
Looking for an equaliser, the hosts had an effort that went just a whisker past the post, before their leveller arrived with a few minutes left of the half when a goalmouth scramble led to the ball hitting Taylor Bowen and going in.
Eight minutes into the second half, Cole McGhee tried to get North End back in the lead, but his effort from long range went wide of the target.
It was the Seasiders who went ahead as Davis attempted to clear the ball from his area, but his miskick fell straight for Bowen who got his second of the afternoon.
Ten minutes later, Blackpool won a penalty after McGhee fouled in the area and Bowen stepped up to seal his hat-trick.
The hosts then scored their third in 15 minutes and their fourth of the game courtesy of a strike by Jibran Ahmed.
Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile and Charlie Goldsmith worked well down the right to find substitute Troy Tarry whose effort was sliced wide of goal, and that was the last meaningful action of the game and North End’s season.
Coach John Welsh was disappointed to lose the contest, especially against such bitter rivals.
“It was a strange game today; a disappointing result. We never want to come here and lose,” said Welsh.
“To lose by that scoreline is frustrating. I thought we were the better team in the first half and deserved to go into the break leading, but we didn’t.
“Mistakes were made that then led to other mistakes and that gave them opportunities to attack our goal, which ultimately is why the result was what it was.”
North End’s youngsters went into the game fresh from lifting the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup earlier in the week, but their league form has been slightly more indifferent – following last season’s title victory.
“There has been success but it’s hard to see them right now,” continued Welsh.
“We got to the Youth Cup quarter-finals, several lads have appeared for the first team, more players have signed professional contracts.
“However, there have been up and down performances and inconsistent results so it’s been rather indifferent as a whole.”
PNE U19 line-up: Davis (Hogarth, 80), Wallbank, Pasiek (Goldsmith, 60), Kamara, Carroll (Tarry, 75), McGhee, Seary, Horan, Rodriguez-Gentile, T.Mawene (Critchley, 80), Eccleston.