Kenny Ndefo scored a late winner as Northampton Town Under 18s won 3-2 at home to previously unbeaten Southend United in the EFL Youth Alliance League on Saturday morning.
Substitute Ndefo headed home deep into stoppage time, a few minutes after the visitors cancelled out Max Dyche’s 86th minute strike.
The Shrimpers made a bright start, firing over from a tight angle before the ball was tapped in at the back post, only for the flag to be up for offside early on.
Just as the Cobblers began to grow into the game, their opponents threatened again, firing across goal before driving just wide moments later.
The visitors opened the scoring on the half-an-hour mark. A loose ball was pounced upon by an attacker, who rounded Dylan Berry before rolling it into the open goal.
They almost doubled their lead early in the second half, but a curled effort deflected narrowly wide.
The hosts equalised with their first real shot of the game, when Jack Connor turned Tommy Curry’s deflected low cross in from close range.
Southend fired a speculative effort over from distance as they looked to respond to the Cobblers’ leveller.
With 10 minutes to go, Tommy Curry flashed a first-time shot just over after his corner was cleared.
Max Dyche thought he won the game for the Cobblers with five minutes remaining when he found the bottom corner on the turn after Southend failed to clear a free kick.
However, the Shrimpers, who had a low free kick beaten away by Dylan Berry with a minute left of normal time, equalised in added time when a dangerous corner was swung in and their captain headed home.
Just as it looked like the match would end in a draw, there was a late twist as Liam Cross found Kenny Ndefo with a deep ball, and the substitute won the game for the Cobblers with a powerful header.
Southend ended the game with 10 men after they had a man sent off for a late challenge on Dylan Berry. Moments later the final whistle blew, bringing an exciting encounter to an end.
It was a fully deserved win for Jon Brady’s side against a strong outfit and in awful conditions.
They will be looking to take the momentum gained into Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup fixture against Cambridge United.
Lineup – Berry (GK); Lack, Dyche, Flanagan, Lashley; Cross, Scott (C), Abimbola; Gilbert, Connor (Sub Ndefo, 86), Curry (Sub Ngwa, 90+). Unused Subs – Woods (GK), Hill, Watkins-Robinson.
Goals – Connor (1-1, 63), Dyche (2-1, 86), Ndefo (3-2, 90+).