Northampton Town Under 18s began pre-season with a 1-0 win at home to Walsall on Saturday.
Miguel Ngwa scored the winner from the penalty spot early in the second half.
The first chance of a cagey opening period fell to the young Cobblers a quarter-of-an-hour in, when Ngwa drove in from the left and fired wide from the edge of the area.
The Saddlers responded and James Dadge tipped a 25-yard free-kick over the bar, before an attacker flashed wide from a tight angle.
Dadge was forced into action again five minutes before the break, diving to his right to push away a low shot.
Ngwa created another opportunity at the other end, but the winger was denied from a narrow angle by the goalkeeper.
The Cobblers’ youngsters broke the deadlock five minutes after the interval. Ngwa was involved yet again, running through the defence and winning a penalty. He placed the resulting spot kick into the roof of the net.
Dadge denied another effort, a long-range shot was blocked by Dylan Hill and Josh Tomlinson made a last-ditch challenge as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
Ethan Lack beat his man and squared to captain Peter Abimbola, who drove into the box and came close to doubling the hosts’ lead, but his close-range effort was saved at the near post.
An inswinging Saddlers corner narrowly beat the far post with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, and the Cobblers held on to win their opening pre-season fixture.
The youth team face a challenge when they travel to Desborough Town’s first team in their next friendly on Tuesday.
Starting XI - Dadge (sub Cook, 69); Smith-Howes, Tomlinson, Sarpong, Lashley (sub Lekuti, HT); Abimbola (C), Hill (sub Duggan, 69), Lack; Watkins-Robinson (sub O’Keeffe, HT), Connor (sub Ndefo, 58), Ngwa (sub Lashley, 83).
Goal - Ngwa (1-0, 49 mins).