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A report on Thursday's FA Youth Cup tie

16 November 2023



A report on Thursday's FA Youth Cup tie

16 November 2023

Northampton Town Under 18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Harrogate Town in cruel fashion at Sixfields Stadium on Thursday evening.

Matty Ireland scored the young Cobblers’ goal in their 2-1 second round proper defeat to their EFL Youth Alliance North East opponents.

Coach Shane Goddard made six changes to the side that lost away to Gillingham in the EFL Youth Alliance South East on Saturday.

Josh Tomlinson, Ireland, Jacob Scott, James Owen, Neo Dobson and Jamari Hart replaced Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Freddie Findlay, Daniel Collin-Kolawole, Josh Rayfield, Charlie Carroll and Aleks Jevterevs in the starting line up.

The Cobblers made a dominant start with Owen poking wide of the post in the opening 60 seconds and Harry Guess having a half-volley tipped over by Alex Mooney within three minutes.

The hosts were rewarded for their positive start when they took an early lead, Ireland finishing from close range after Dobson’s fierce drive across goal was palmed into the danger-zone by Mooney.

The opening goalscorer’s first-time effort from Owen’s cutback was blocked and Reuben Wyatt curled narrowly wide of the top right from Owen’s low corner as the Cobblers looked to kill the tie off as early as the quarter-of-an-hour mark.

They were forced to settle for their one-goal advantage as the contest became more even midway through the opening 45 minutes, Harrogate creating their first chance when Jack Bray cut inside and had a powerful strike blocked by Tomlinson.

The hosts were still in the ascendency in terms of opportunities, captain Jacob Scott’s audacious bicycle kick from Wyatt’s whipped cross being turned behind by Mooney, Tom Cartwright curling wide of the far post having checked back onto his left foot and Hart almost catching the ‘keeper out with a cross-shot that flew across the face of goal.

However, momentum shifted on the stroke of half-time when Tomlinson brought Bray down in the D and was adjudged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity. The defender was shown a straight red card as a result.

Oliver Nicholson took the resulting free-kick, but his effort flicked the wall and looped over, and the visitors spurned two clear chances from the resulting corner.

The Cobblers managed to survive until half-time, but they remained under pressure in the opening stages of the second period.

Hart offered some respite when he broke away down the left and drew a foul as he drove infield on the hour. Wyatt’s curled free-kick from the tight angle was beaten away by Mooney and Cartwright was unable to react in time to convert from inside the six-yard box.

Harrogate came close to equalising a few minutes later, Marcus Bald gathering Bray’s shot on the turn at the second attempt after the ball had travelled through a crowd of bodies.

The visitors drew level soon after when Elijah Samuels flicked Nicholson’s cross home from close range.

The Cobblers settled into a defensive shape given their man disadvantage, the pace of the game and the number of opportunities dwindling as a result.

Substitute Oliver Robinson drove a cross from the byline straight into Bald’s arms at the near post and Nicholson curled a yard wide from long range as Harrogate were restricted to half-chances late on.

However, the visitors were able to turn the game on its head in added time when Josh Brodella’s curled shot hit the inside of the post and Bray smashed in the follow-up from the penalty spot.

Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Tom Cartwright, Josh Tomlinson, Leo Jenkins, Matty Ireland, Reuben Wyatt, Harry Guess, Jacob Scott, James Owen, Neo Dobson, Jamari Hart
Substitutes: Elliot Smith, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Freddie Findlay, Josh Rayfield, Charlie Carroll, Ollie Evans, Aleks Jevterevs


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