After 120 minutes and penalties in the week against Southampton, Blackpool fell to defeat at Preston on Saturday.
The game was switched to UCLan Sports Arena owing to the poor weather conditions.
Home advantage worked in PNE’s favour, as they immediately went on the front foot, with Connor Simpson, their new man up top, forcing Harvey Simson into a smart save early on.
The big man then put Preston in front inside six minutes. A long ball was played from the back, which Simpson controlled well, before firing through Simson, with the shot too strong for the ‘keeper to handle.
Simpson nearly doubled his tally just moments later, but Tom Williams got across from centre-back to block well as the ball went past Simson in goal.
Blackpool then thought they had equalised minutes later, when Nathan Shaw was played in on the left and fired home, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside, chalking off the goal.
Preston had a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Simson saved, setting up a Seasiders counter. Harry Winstanley found Emil Jaaskelainen down the left with his ball out from the back, and the striker crossed in for Rowan Roache, who narrowly missed at the far post.
Another free-kick for the visitors nearly caused trouble, as Jack Baxter’s effort cannoned off the bar and back into play.
Blackpool then started to gain momentum as the clock ticked past 30 minutes, before Harvey Simson was forced into another good save. Ethan Walker played a corner in for Preston, and the ball fell to an attacker who shot goalwards, with Simson diving low to his right to stop the ball from going in.
With six minutes to go in the first period, Blackpool got back on level terms through Dylan Sumner. On the counter, Rowan Roache played a searching ball out to the left flank for Nathan Shaw to run on to. The winger then crossed the ball in and it fell to Sumner, who fired into the top corner to make it 1-1.
Half Time: Blackpool 1 Preston North End 1
The second-half started exactly as the first did, with Preston in the ascendancy, and Harvey Simson made two more great saves to keep the scores level. Firstly, he saved a shot from distance from Charlie Lyons, before Tyrhys Dolan got free, but a magnificent reaction save from Simson tipped the ball round the post.
Blackpool then made a triple change, with Lewis Wainwright, Sam Maddox and Nathan Shaw making way. On came Alwyn Flynn, Nana Adarkwa and Sean Graham to play the last 35 minutes of the match.
Just a minute later, though, Blackpool were behind once more. Preston made it 2-1 through Adam O’Reilly, who fired home from the edge of the area.
However, just four minutes later, Blackpool were back on terms through Fin Sinclair-Smith. Rowan Roache slid the ball through for the winger, who slotted the ball past James Cottam in the Preston goal to make it 2-2.
Just as Blackpool got back in it, they were back out of it, though. Connor Simpson scored twice in four minutes to make it 4-2, and seal a hat-trick on his U18s debut for PNE.
Blackpool then had to play the last fifteen minutes with ten men, as Dylan Sumner was unable to carry on through injury.
Preston thought they had scored a fifth goal soon after, but Adam O’Reilly was adjudged to be in an offside position when he poked the ball into the net.
James Cottam then kept PNE two goals ahead with a smart stop from Fin Sinclair-Smith, before Rowan Roache fired one over the bar from outside the box.
Preston did add a fifth in the 87th minute though, when winger Michael Howard scored to firmly secure the victory
Full-Time: Blackpool 2 Preston North End 5
Team: Simson; Williams, O’Brien, Winstanley; Maddox (Adarkwa 55’), Sumner, Wainwright (Flynn 55’), Shaw (Graham 55’); Roache; Jaaskelainen, Sinclair-Smith
Unused: Thordarson, Watkinson
Blackpool now travel to Morecambe next Saturday for a North West Youth Alliance League fixture, before travelling down to Ipswich for the Fifth Round FA Youth Cup tie on Tuesday 30 January.