Rovers have a chance to make it back-to-back Lancashire Senior Cup titles as a young side came of age to beat Preston North End.

Billy Barr’s side, a mix of Under-18s and Under-23s, came up against a North End side packed with first-team experience and won through 5-3 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes.

They led through Lewis Thompson’s fourth minute strike, but trailed at the break after Paul Huntington and Brad Potts netted for the hosts.

A John Buckley penalty early in the second half was the end of the scoring, but Rovers continued to play with greater fluency and looked the more likely winners over the 90 minutes.

They netted all five of their spot-kicks, with Joe Hilton coming up with the key save to deny Jayden Stockley to book their place in the final.

Rovers played with real confidence from the first whistle, knocking the ball through the lines and testing an experienced Preston backline.

It was a from a move which started with goalkeeper Joe Hilton that brought them an opening goal in just the fourth minute. Isaac Whitehall got in to space to break forward from midfield and slide in Thompson who had the awareness to lift the ball over the advancing Connor Ripley and in to the corner.

Jack Vale went close to making it two within 90 seconds, spinning Paul Huntington close to the byline before firing a left foot shot which Ripley held on to.

It was a real bitter blow that from their first attack, the hosts equalised as they made their height advantage count with Huntington climbing highest to power in a header via the underside of the bar.

What followed though was a period of controlled Rovers possession, which visibly frustrated North End who were lucky not to see midfielder Ryan Ledson red card for a poor challenge on Buckley, which earned him a yellow card, and one soon after on Stefan Mols which saw him escape with a warning.

Mols passed up an excellent chance to regain the lead for Rovers, doing the hard work by rounding goalkeeper Ripley as he intercepted a backpass. But he saw the glory, rather than the square pass to Vale or Buckley that would have given them a tap-in, as he tried his luck from a tight angle and could only find the side netting.

North End boss Alex Neil, watching from the touchline, was urging his side forward, but they had little answer to Rovers’ ball retention.

They did end the half the stronger however, Joe Baxter’s 25-yarder being denied by the crossbar before they eventually took the lead. Whitehall had been assured in possession but gave it away in a dangerous area, 25 yards from goal, with Jayden Stockley feeding Brad Potts who fired in to the corner.

That was harsh on a young Rovers side but they would level from the penalty spot within 60 seconds of the second half resuming as Buckley sent Ripley the wrong way.

Both sides had opportunities in the second half, Tom Clarke firing wide for the hosts who also saw Stockley have a shot well blocked by Hayden Carter.

But it was Rovers who were playing the more enterprising football, a swift move down the right involving Sam Barnes and Dan Pike presented an opening for Jack Vale who skied his shot.

Luke Brennan did test, but shot too closely too him, as the game went in to penalties where Rovers held their nerve.

Rovers: Hilton, Pike, Barnes, Carter, Thompson, Whitehall, Davenport, Mols, Buckley, Brennan (Burns, 72), Vale