Northampton Town Under 23s lost 3-0 away to Peterborough Sports in the Northamptonshire FA Hillier Senior Cup first round on Tuesday.
Under 18s coach Shane Goddard took charge of a mixture of some young first team and youth team players against the competition holders, who have made an impressive start to their first ever season in the Vanarama National League North.
The strength and experience of the Turbines side showed, but it was a good test for the young Cobblers who remained competitive throughout.
The hosts created the first opportunity early on, captain Mark Jones firing over from Lewis Hilliard’s through ball.
The Cobblers responded with their first chance moments later, but Connor Johnson made a last-ditch challenge before Trialist was able to get a shot away.
Peterborough Sports threatened twice before the quarter-of-an-hour mark, but Luke Warner-Eley’s overhit cross looped past the far post and nobody could get on the end of Dan Jarvis’ low ball across goal.
They opened the scoring midway through the first half when Maniche Sani turned towards goal and curled into the back of the net from 20 yards.
Johnson flicked across the face of goal, Max Dyche cleared Jones’ header off the line and Lamine Sherif’s powerful shot was tipped over by James Dadge as the Turbines came close to doubling their lead before the half hour.
But the visitors grew into the contest and could have been back on level terms before the break, but captain Dyche headed straight at Lewis Elsom from close range and Liam Cross’ low strike went just wide two minutes later.
And they were punished for these missed chances on the stroke of half-time when Jones turned home on the rebound after his initial effort was blocked, making it 2-0 against the run of play.
The second period was less action-packed than the first, but both sides had half-chances in the opening 10 minutes as Sani saw Dadge hold his low drive at the near post and Cross cut inside before firing wide.
It took until the last 15 minutes for the next piece of goalmouth action, and unfortunately for the young Northampton side it was Hilliard stabbing home to extend the hosts’ advantage after a series of blocks.
Peterborough Sports saw out the final stages to secure their place in the second round, but overall it was a positive evening for the Cobblers youngsters who had held their own for large parts of the tie.
Cobblers: James Dadge, Brad Smith-Howes, Josh Tomlinson, Max Dyche, Trialist, Dylan Hill, Trialist, Peter Abimbola, Liam Cross, Trialist, Kai O’Keeffe
Substitutes: Marcus Bald, Tom Cartwright, Reuben Wyatt, Fin Amidi, Reece Irwin