EFL YOUTH ALLIANCE MERIT LEAGUE TWO
Saturday March 5th 2022, 10:30am
NORTHAMPTON TOWN UNDER 18S 1
Reuben Wyatt 67
CHELTENHAM TOWN UNDER 18S 0
Cobblers: Callum Cook (sub Tom Ladyman 46), Brad Smith-Howes, Tom Cartwright (sub Josh Tomlinson 70), Josh Brown, Ayo Lekuti, Dylan Hill, Rico Duggan (sub Fin Amidi 75), Reuben Wyatt (sub Jamari Hart 84), Kai O’Keeffe (sub Jacob Scott 84), Miguel Ngwa, Jack Connor
Northampton Town Under 18s made it two from two in the EFL Youth Alliance Merit League with a 1-0 win at home to Cheltenham Town on Saturday morning.
Reuben Wyatt scored the young Cobblers’ goal as they won their fifth consecutive league game.
Coach Shane Goddard made four changes to the team that beat Swindon Town in his side’s opening Merit League Two fixture, as Callum Cook, Kai O’Keeffe, Rico Duggan and Wyatt all came into the starting lineup.
The Cobblers were on top from the off and came close early on when Jack Connor headed over Brad Smith-Howes’ dangerous free kick at the back post.
Smith-Howes was involved again soon after, but neither O’Keeffe nor Connor could scramble home from his ball across goal.
Wyatt fired a crisp drive over and Duggan was denied by a fine save as the hosts continued to threaten midway through the first half.
Cheltenham, who also won their first game and were unbeaten in two league matches going into the fixture, almost took the lead against the run of play on the half-an-hour mark but Tom Cartwright was in the right place at the right time to block a goal-bound effort.
Connor had two more chances to open the scoring before the break, but somehow it remained goalless at half time. His shot from O’Keeffe’s cutback was saved and he headed wide from Miguel Ngwa’s whipped cross.
The visitors grew into the game after the interval, creating the first chance of the second half five minutes in when an effort flew over the angle of the post and crossbar.
They almost broke through on the hour but Josh Brown made an excellent interception to put an end to the attack.
The deadlock was finally broken midway through the second period. Ngwa carried the ball and found Wyatt in the middle, and the midfielder found the bottom corner with the aid of a slight deflection for his first youth team goal.
Cheltenham almost made an instant reply but the Cobblers defence cleared their lines after a goalmouth scramble. Duggan was unable to get a good connection on Ngwa’s cutback at the other end.
Tom Ladyman, who replaced Cook in goal at half time, preserved his side’s lead with 10 minutes to go when he rushed off his line to make a one-on-one save.
The youth team held on to record back-to-back Merit League wins. They will look to continue their winning run at home to Sutton United in their third fixture next week.