Northampton Town Under 18s coach Shane Goddard says his side put in a ‘professional performance’ as they progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 win away to King’s Lynn Town on Wednesday.
Jack Connor scored all three goals to take his tally for the season to 10 in all competitions.
Speaking after the match, Goddard said: “It was a really professional performance after a good week for the academy.
“It was always going to be a difficult night for us and it was for the first 20 minutes.
“We needed a goal to settle us down and after that it was a professional performance.
“We thoroughly deserved the win and I’m really happy with the boys.
“We look forward to the challenge that the next round throws up for us.”
The win means that the young Cobblers are still in every cup competition and a positive week for the player pathway continues.
Twelve past or present academy players were in the first team squad for their Papa John’s Trophy fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion Under 21s on Tuesday night.
Josh Tomlinson became the club’s youngest ever player and started for the youth team against King’s Lynn 24 hours later.
Miguel Ngwa, Peter Abimbola and Tommy Curry also featured in both matches.
Goddard added: “I felt pride seeing the boys play on Tuesday night.
“Credit needs to go to the staff and people behind the scenes who’ve worked with these boys for a number of years.
“The boys deserve credit for getting themselves in that position and Jon Brady deserves credit for giving them the opportunity.
“We’re proud but we have to push on as an academy and start producing more players that can bridge the gap to the first team and stay there.
“I’m confident we have those players but more hard work needs to be done to make sure that happens.”
Connor’s hat-trick was his second of the campaign, after he netted three on the opening day in a 3-1 win at home to Leyton Orient.
Goddard said: “At the start of the season we said we wanted Jack to score more goals.
“He’s getting himself in more goalscoring positions and working harder.
“He’s trying to lead the line more and dominate centre halves which is what we want from him.
“Scoring a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup and being on the bench for the first team last night will live with him forever.
“I hope it gives him something to build on moving forwards.”
Connor added: “As a striker, you’ve got to score goals and I’ve scored two hat-tricks this season.
“It’s an amazing feeling - as long as I keep scoring, it keeps me happy.
“Being in-and-around the first team was an amazing experience and I want to be there more often.”
Goddard’s side return to EFL Youth Alliance League action when they travel to Stevenage on Saturday.