Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s narrowly lost out in a 2-1 defeat to Preston North End in the North West Youth Alliance on Saturday at Springfields.
The Lilywhites had the opening chance of the game as they passed the ball up the field towards Josh Seary, who composed himself but struck his powerful shot wide of the post.
Both sides worked the ball well and kept it in the middle of the pitch until the 17th minute when PNE’s Jacob Slater found the back of the net, giving them the lead. It all started with a Town corner, with the home side pouncing on it first and storming up the pitch with pace, before the forward could pass it into the back of the net, making the game 1-0.
A scramble in the North End box soon followed, with Fleetwood thinking they had brought the game back to level terms, but the linesman had other ideas as he flagged the forward offside and the goal was ruled out.
The game started to open up at this point, with Mike O’Neill firing just over the Fleetwood bar before Zane Marsh made his way down the right, putting in a brilliant cross to the box, but Billy Jones’ effort fired over.
Just before the break, Preston doubled their lead through a Finlay Wallbank strike. The player ran down the right-wing and, with help from a deflection, his cross beat the Town goalkeeper.
This pressure carried on into the second half, with Pemberton and O’Neill having chances, but none of them added to the scoreline.
Town ended the game strongly and forged multiple chances on goal, with a shot from range troubling Pradic starting it off. Substitute Pharrell Brown brought it back to 2-1 with three minutes to go, even though his first effort was saved, he was able to tuck home the rebound calmly.
The home side only just held on to all three points with a bombardment of chances at the death for Fleetwood, but the final chance of the game saw a well-worked move fly just over the crossbar, meaning it is a defeat for our Under-18s.