Northampton Town Women began their 2023-24 pre-season schedule with a 1-0 win away to London Seaward on Sunday afternoon.
Jade Bell scored the Cobblers’ goal as they defeated their opponents, who finished fifth in the FA Women’s National League Division One South East in the 2022-23 season.
Two inswinging Zoe Boote corners resulted in early chances for the visitors, the ‘keeper punching the first set-piece over at the near post and Bianca Luttman having an effort blocked on the line from the second.
The ball dropped to Bell whose half-volley from the edge of the box was held by the diving ‘keeper on the quarter-of-an-hour mark and Alex Dicks drilled over on the turn having received Fay Noble’s pass soon after.
Northampton largely controlled the opening period and London Seaward’s only opportunity of note fell on the half-hour when a 20-yard free-kick was curled straight at Katie McLean, who was making her Cobblers debut after signing from FAWNL Division One South East side Queens Park Rangers.
The visitors took the lead five minutes before the break as Bell intercepted a loose pass by the ’keeper, advanced towards goal and finished one-on-one.
Half-time substitute Keira Doig almost made an instant impact when she beat the offside trap, controlled Beth Artemiou’s lofted through ball and rounded the ‘keeper, but she fired off target from the tight angle.
The hosts came close to equalising after an hour, McLean tipping a speculative long-range strike over as it travelled towards the top corner and a header from the resulting set-piece hitting the top of the crossbar.
Both sides threatened midway through the second half, as Doig’s looping effort from Bell’s low ball across goal was clawed away by the ‘keeper before Vicky Barrett tackled a forward in the area and slid in to block the follow-up at the other end.
Another attacker latched onto a loose ball in the Northampton box late on, but captain Boote also made a last-ditch interception.
London Seaward continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, but their final shot dipped over the bar from the edge as the Cobblers came away with a win in their opening pre-season friendly.
Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams’ side host Cambridge United in their second pre-season fixture next week.
The Cobblers’ fixture at home to the side who finished eighth in the FAWNL Division One South East last season will be played at Sixfields Stadium on Saturday, directly following the men’s first team fixture against Leicester City.
Cobblers: Katie McLean, Bianca Luttman, Vicky Barrett, Ruby Heselden, TJ Warren, Fay Noble, Mia Richards, Beth Artemiou, Zoe Boote, Alex Dicks, Jade Bell
Substitutes: Trialist, Keira Doig, Kim Farrow, Charlotte Murphy