Northampton Town Under 18s coach Shane Goddard says his side’s 'quality shone through' as they progressed to the second round of the David Joyce Cup with a 3-1 win away to Wellingborough Whitworth Red on Thursday.
Kenny Ndefo scored a hat-trick for the young Cobblers.
Speaking after the match, Goddard said: “It was a really positive performance from us, and everybody stepped up.
“We’ve utilised this competition tonight to give some younger players the opportunity to experience senior youth football, which will stand them in brilliant stead for their futures.
“Whitworth are a good side, they’ve started the season well and they play some good football, so we knew it was a potential banana skin if we didn’t turn up and apply ourselves in the right way.
“In the end, our quality shone through, and I’m really pleased with Kenny - he deserves that break, and it was a good opportunity for him to get some minutes and convert some chances tonight.”
Goddard rotated his side and gave minutes to younger players with a home EFL Youth Alliance Cup third round tie against Southend United coming up at the weekend.
He added: “We’ve tried to manage minutes because we’ve got a 48-hour turnaround between games.
“Friday will be about resting and recovering, and you’ll see a lot of the second years come back into the side at the weekend.
“However, there will be boys that started tonight who will need to start on Saturday, and they’ll need to be ready to go and show resilience and robustness.
“That’s all part of being a professional footballer, so it’s more learning, and we’ll ensure our players are capable of performing to their maximum.”