Steve Arnold, birthday boy Billy Waters and Camron McWilliams were amongst the players to get some game time under their belts in a 5-3 win in a behind closed doors game against Cambridge United at Moulton College on Tuesday. Waters scored three times, while Matt Warburton found the net twice.
The Cobblers had the first opening inside two minutes when Waters drove towards the edge of the box but he fired over the crossbar with a powerful right-footed strike.
Another chance came moments later as Academy forward Michael Harding picked out Matt Warburton to deliver a dangerous cross from the left which found Waters on the charge but his effort dropped just wide.
The U's then went close on 11 minutes after a corner from the left fell kindly for a visiting midfielder on the edge of the box but Arnold was left untroubled as the ball fizzed over the bar.
The Cobblers got the breakthrough with Waters finding the net, midfielder Jack Newell won possession in midfield with a superb sliding challenge to allow Waters to travel towards the edge of the box and find the net via the post.
The visitors replied almost immediately from the penalty spot following a foul, with forward Harvey Knibbs firing the ball into the net from 12 yards.
Arnold came through 45 minutes unscathed and was replaced at the break by Andy Fisher, with Haydn Price also coming on to replace Newell.
The Cobblers were then presented with the chance to re-take the lead after Warburton was fouled in the penalty box, and he picked himself up to send the ball powerfully past the Cambridge United goalkeeper.
A third goal soon followed in what was a superb team move, Warburton flicked the ball inside to Harding who found Waters on the left side of the box, and he finished powerfully to claim his second of the game.
Jay Williams then went close after a well worked short corner on the right, with McWilliams delivering a teasing cross but the header drifted over the bar. Williams was then well positioned to clear a cross inside his own 6 yard box as the visitors pushed forward.
Football & Education scholar Ethan Johnston then did superbly to turn his marker on the right and deliver the cross for Waters but he was denied his hat-trick by a last ditch block.
United then pulled one back straight after when winger Knowles raced onto a ball over the top to finish calmly past Fisher.
Cambridge then equalised after a dangerous corner from the right resulted in a scramble at the back-post, and despite the best efforts in defence the loose ball was poked into the net from close range.
But it was the Cobblers who got their noses back in-front as Waters completed his hat-trick, Johnston was denied by a smart save after racing through but Waters was on hand to tuck the loose ball past the 'keeper.
Warburton then added his second and the Cobblers' fifth with a smart finish after cutting inside, beating his man and picking out the bottom corner with the final kick of the game.