PHOTOS: Preston Youths 1, Burnley Youths 0

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ONE point denied the Clarets the Alliance Youth League title at the hands of rivals Preston, and a solitary goal in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final handed another trophy to the Lillywhites.

Brandon Zibaka's 56th minute strike proved the winner as he raced through an aperture in the Clarets defence before lashing the ball beyond Josh Cook at his near post.

Terry Pashley's side showed great battling spirit and a tenacious attitude, but failed to find a way through their organised and resilient opponents.

The clash at Deepdale was always going to be a tough task, with former Claret Jamie Hoyland guiding the Lillywhites to 10 consecutive victories.

The fixture began at a laboured pace, with both teams intent on retaining possession. The Clarets worked the first opening of the half, Luke Gallagher's drilled cross into the box was met by Alex Mullin, though the winger miscued with time and space at his disposal.

Gallagher blazed over from distance moments later after dispossessing Naim El-Harrati in midfield but that acted as a wake-up call for North End. Zibaka, who bagged a brace against Oldham in the previous round, always looked capable of threatening with his frightening pace and the striker came close to opening the scoring, latching on to a long ball, cutting in to the area, only to be denied by a superb block from skipper Alex Coleman from close range.

With the home side's pace, precision and penetration it was no surprise that they'd won the competition in three successive years, and with Luke Clark very impressionable in the middle of the park, orchestrating the tempo, they looked measured and organised.

After Coleman was booked, hacking down Samuel Ade Osobe, North End went close again. Zibaka chased another hopeful clearance in to the corner, crafted a route past full-back Luke Conlan and squared the ball to Clark on the edge of the box who forced Josh Cook in to a smart save at the foot of his post with a venomous, low drive. And soon after Zibaka found the side-netting with a clever half-volley on the turn.

The Clarets tried to involve the wide men with long, often overhit, passes in to the corner but when the ball was played on the ground North End's rearguard looked penetrable. And Shay McCartan was unfortunate after piercing through the home side's backline and lifting the ball over keeper Jordan Watson, though his clipped effort span away from goal.

That would be the only time Watson would be called in to action, but the Clarets continued to press. Ade Osobe felled Gallagher on the edge of the box, finding himself in the referee's book in the process, and a well-worked free-kick routine saw Archie Love slice wide. And Steven Hewitt was next to miss the target after trading passes with Gallagher.

After the break the Clarets allowed North End less time on the ball but, despite several hurried and wasteful passes, they continued to work the ball well, maintaining their momentum.

Preston opened the scoring on the 56th minute when Zibaka was slotted through an aperture in the Clarets defence and lashed his shot past Cook at his near post, in truth it was no more than Preston deserved.

Burnley should have been awarded a free-kick in the Preston box after Watson handled a back pass, somehow the referee missed the incident and play was allowed to continue.

Shay McCartan had the best chance to equalise, after Williams unleashed him down the wing, unfortunatley for the youngster his first touch sent the ball too far in front of him allowing Watson to gather the ball at his feet.

The final chance of the game fell to Coleman in the dying seconds of the match, Luke Conlan sent the ball in the box, but Colemans glancing header was just wide of the post, and with it the last of Burnley's chances, as referee Mr B Cropp ended the game to seal Prestons fourth successive LFA Youth Cup.