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EFL Youth Alliance action

12 November 2022

Northampton Town Under 18s came from behind to win 2-1 away to Gillingham in the EFL Youth Alliance League South East on Saturday morning.

Kai O’Keeffe and Kenny Ndefo scored the young Cobblers’ goals.

The first half was scrappy and neither side created many chances before the break.

Northampton ‘keeper Marcus Bald made two saves in the opening 20 minutes, tipping Jules Kuhr’s curled shot wide and pushing away Kai Garrett’s low drive.

The Cobblers came closest on the half-an-hour mark, Neo Dobson turning on the edge of the area and swinging an effort just over the crossbar.

The key moment fell two minutes before the interval, when Bald brought Garrett down in the box and Harry Bridle converted the resulting penalty to put Gillingham in front.

Northampton responded well and were the better team for the majority of the second half.

They survived an early scare as George Hutcheon side-footed over straight from kick-off.

But Northampton equalised on the hour when Brad Smith-Howes’ cross fell to O’Keeffe, who worked some space on the edge of the six-yard box and smashed home.

Substitute Ndefo headed towards goal from Smith-Howes’ corner 10 minutes later, but Taite Holtom made a diving save to deny him.

The striker, making his second appearance since returning from a long-term injury, turned the game on its head within a few minutes when he ran onto Rico Duggan’s through ball and slotted into the bottom corner.

The Cobblers now had a lead to hold onto, and it was under threat late on when Ronald Sithole got in behind and sent a shot narrowly across the face of goal.

But the youth team survived to secure a deserved win.

The youth team travel to Charlton Athletic in the FA Youth Cup second round on Thursday evening.

Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Brad Smith-Howes, Leo Jenkins, Josh Tomlinson, Ayo Lekuti (sub Jamari Hart 82), Rico Duggan, Jacob Scott, Harry Guess (sub Tommy Curry 63), Reuben Wyatt (sub Dylan Hill 74), Kai O’Keeffe, Neo Dobson (sub Kenny Ndefo 63)
Sub not used: Tom Ladyman

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