A very young Northampton Town Under 18s lost 5-1 away to Desborough Town’s first team on Tuesday night.
Ayo Lekuti scored the Cobblers’ goal.
First team call ups meant that Coach Shane Goddard was forced into naming a young side, and Ar Tarn’s physical advantage showed early on as they headed home from a corner to open the scoring.
The Cobblers youngsters came close to equalising less than a minute later, but Rico Duggan’s shot was blocked on the line after he capitalised on a missed interception.
The hosts had a great opportunity to double their advantage when Josh Tomlinson brought down an attacker in the area, but James Dadge dived low to his right to save the resulting penalty.
Two minutes later, Lekuti charged down the goalkeeper and tapped into the open goal to equalise.
The visitors controlled the ball after their leveller and almost took the lead before half time.
Tomlinson volleyed wide from Kai O’Keeffe’s deep free kick and Kenny Ndefo’s effort was parried away by the goalkeeper after he turned on the edge of the box.
As they did in the first half, Ar Tarn scored early in the second period to regain the lead, nodding in from close range after a deep corner was headed back into the middle.
The young Cobblers nearly equalised again five minutes later, Ndefo turning Lekuti’s cross towards goal, but the goalkeeper tipped the ball around the post.
The hosts dominated the rest of the match as their opponents tired.
They found the bottom corner from the edge of the area and converted a low cross at the back post to extend their lead to three on the hour mark.
Substitute Callum Cook tipped over a deflected shot from the edge of the box a quarter-of-an-hour later, but Ar Tarn scrambled home from a wide free kick soon after.
The youth team host Kettering Town Under 18s in their final pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Starting XI - Dadge (sub Cook, 65 mins); Smith-Howes (sub Cartwright, 76 mins), Irwin (sub Sarpong, 59 mins), Tomlinson, Lashley; Duggan (sub Wyatt, 65 mins), Hill (C), Brown (sub Hart, 59 mins); O’Keeffe, Ndefo, Lekuti.
Goal - Lekuti (1-1, 21 mins).