Northampton Town Under 18s lost 1-0 away to Sutton United in the EFL Youth Alliance South East on Saturday morning.
Coach Shane Goddard made one change to the side that were knocked-out of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup at the southern section third round stage by Portsmouth last week, as Aleks Jevterevs replaced Neo Dobson in the starting line up.
Both teams cancelled each other out in the opening half-an-hour with the majority of play happening in midfield and almost all attacks breaking down on the edge of the box.
The Cobblers were given a boost when Jevterevs pressed ‘keeper Lenny Jones into a loose clearance and James Owen pounced on the loose ball before driving towards the open goal. The midfielder was hauled down on the edge of the area, his opponent was shown a straight red card and he drove the resulting free-kick narrowly wide of the far post.
The visitors were only able to threaten once more before the break despite their numbers advantage, Reuben Wyatt floating a cross towards the far post from Kiantay Licorish-Mullings’ quickly-taken throw-in and Leo Jenkins having a looping header acrobatically pushed wide by Jones.
The Cobblers continued to control possession in the second half but again, were unable to create too many opportunities.
They came closest midway through the second period when substitute Dobson held the ball up and played it out wide to Josh Rayfield, whose low cross took a deflection off a defender and flew across the face of goal.
The visitors were punished for failing to make use of their player advantage when Sutton broke the deadlock against the run of play soon after, James Fennelow controlling a loose ball in the box and finishing low across goal.
Things went from bad to worse for the Cobblers less than two minutes later when Dobson was sent-off following an off-the-ball incident, meaning both sides now had 10 players on the pitch. The striker had been attempting to close Jones down but caught a defender as he sprinted towards the ‘keeper.
The visitors threw almost everyone forward in search of an equaliser late on, and were nearly caught on the break on numerous occasions. Their best chances in added time both came from Licorish-Mullings long throws, captain Jacob Scott’s flicked header diverting off a defender before being tipped over by Jones and sub Charlie Carroll’s half-volley landing on the roof of the net.
The youth team host Cambridge United in their next league fixture in a fortnight.
Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Josh Rayfield, Leo Jenkins, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Matty Ireland, Reuben Wyatt, Harry Guess, Jacob Scott, James Owen, Aleks Jevterevs, Jamari Hart
Substitutes: Will Bewley, Tom Cartwright, Freddie Findlay, Charlie Carroll, Neo Dobson