The Northampton Town Football and Education Programme NFYL South Premier Division squad lost 2-1 at home to Reading on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cobblers were a man down for over an hour against their in-form opponents.
They created a couple of half-chances in an opening period where opportunities were few-and-far between.
Eddie Panter volleyed off target from long range and Ethan Aldridge flicked wide from Alfie Doherty’s corner early on.
The turning point came just before the half-an-hour mark when defender Lorenco Soulollari was sent off, and things went from bad to worse for the hosts on the stroke of half time.
Aldridge mistimed his sliding tackle and conceded a penalty, from which the taker sent Harry Francis-Jones the wrong way.
Francis-Jones did well to deny a close range shot midway through the second half, but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when a corner was floated towards the back post and an opponent nodded in a Reading second a few minutes later.
Panter pulled a goal back late on, cutting inside and finding the top corner, but the Cobblers were unable to find an equaliser and the game ended in defeat.
Fran Constancio’s side host Bradford City in the NFYL Trophy next week.
Cobblers: Harry Francis-Jones, Josh Whaler, Ethan Aldridge, Lorenco Soulollari, Jake Webster, David Sarpong, Elliot Turton, Kieron Mobbs, Cairo Taylor, Alfie Doherty, Eddie Panter
Substitutes: Tom Ladyman, Jed Roberts, Patrick McGrath, Freddie King