The Northampton Town Football and Education Programme CEFAL Central Four squad began 2022 with a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to top-of-the-table Aston Villa C on Wednesday afternoon.
Bradley Cheshire scored the Cobblers’ opener early on, but Villa came from behind and led until Zack Douglas’ late equaliser.
The draw ended the visitors’ 100% start to the season and meant that the gap between the teams remained at six points.
Cheshire opened the scoring inside two minutes with a powerful header from Max Hust’s accurate cross.
The visitors began to control possession, but the Cobblers almost doubled their lead midway through the first half when Elliot Balchin-Love’s effort from Joshua Davey’s long throw was well saved.
Kai Hanley preserved the advantage a few minutes later, tipping over a direct free kick that was travelling towards the top corner.
Hust skilfully flicked the ball over a defender and smashed a half-volley against the crossbar from a tight angle as the Cobblers went into the break on top.
However, Villa dominated the second half and equalised on the counter attack 10 minutes after the interval before turning the game around on the hour mark.
Substitute goalkeeper Kelvin Kwarteng kept his side in the contest with a good stop soon after. The rebound was fired over.
Kwarteng was called into action again when he made a great double save with a quarter-of-an-hour to go.
These saves proved vital as Douglas, another substitute, beat three defenders and fired into the top corner to rescue a point for the Cobblers three minutes from time.
Francis Banks’ side travel to mid-table Mansfield Town next week.
Cobblers: Kai Hanley, Joshua Davey, Max Hust, James Lewis, Liam Wood, Niall Donaghy, Elliot Balchin-Love, Kenny Kwarteng, Sonny Reeves, Bradley Cheshire, Tyrun Primus
Substitutes: Kelvin Kwarteng, Archie O’Donnell, Zack Douglas, Alfie Leivars