The Northampton Town Football and Education Programme Elite squad narrowly lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace in the National Football Youth League South Premier Division on Wednesday afternoon.
Bradley Cheshire scored the Cobblers’ goal as they attempted to mount a second-half fightback.
Both sides created chances in the opening 45 minutes, Palace taking a two-goal lead into the break.
They came close inside 60 seconds as Northampton captain Tyrun Primus cleared a goal-bound corner off the line.
The hosts appealed for an early penalty when Romeo Ingman was tripped in the area, but the protests were waved away by the referee.
Palace opened the scoring before the quarter-of-an-hour mark, a forward firing in at the near post having been played through.
Tom Ladyman made a close-range diving save from a cutback to deny a second before setting-up Archie O’Donnell with a free-kick from inside the Cobblers box, but he half-volleyed over from a tight angle.
The visitors doubled their lead with a similar goal to their opener midway through the first half when another through ball was finished at the near post.
The Cobblers almost halved the deficit going into the interval, but Elliot Balchin curled over from Johnny Carey’s side-footed pass.
They did just that early in the second period when half-time substitute Cheshire ran through on goal and placed into the bottom corner.
Balchin took aim from the edge of the area a few minutes later, forcing the Palace ’keeper into a diving stop.
Northampton continued to threaten as the visiting number one pushed Balchin’s low cross into a dangerous area, but O’Donnell was unable to turn home from a narrow angle.
Their best opportunity fell five minutes from time, goalscorer Cheshire agonisingly heading wide from six yards out.
The Cobblers were unable to find a late equaliser and their opponents came away with all three points.
Elsewhere on Wednesday afternoon, the Women’s squad’s home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur in the NFYL South Premier Women kicks-off at 2:15pm, whilst the Development team travelled to Queens Park Rangers for a 1:30pm South Central Championship start.
Cobblers: Tom Ladyman, Zack Douglas, Archie O’Donnell, Johnny Carey, Nico Mountford, Ollie Galbraith, Elliot Balchin, Romeo Ingman, Tyrun Primus, James Owen, James Lewis
Substitutes: Billy Panter, Bradley Cheshire, Mmenim Ekop