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A report on Wednesday's action

20 September 2023

Northampton Town Football and Education Programme Elite lost 3-2 at home to Volenti Academy LNS in the National Football Youth League South Premier Division on Wednesday afternoon.

Rojus Kuzminskas and Mmenim Ekop scored the Cobblers’ goals as they were defeated in an end-to-end contest.

Volenti Academy started on top and came close on a number of occasions in the opening stages, Jack Culwick sliding in to deny the most promising early opportunity as an attacker drove towards goal.

Billy Panter got an important touch on a low cross to divert the ball away from an opponent at the far post as the visitors threatened again 10 minutes in.

The Cobblers created their first chance on the quarter-of-an-hour mark when a deep cross was hooked in the air by a defender as Culwick shaped to volley and Kuzminskas was unable to connect cleanly with the loose ball from close range.

Romeo Ingman dispossessed a defender and Kuzminskas ran in on goal midway through the half, but he was tackled before he was able to shoot from the penalty spot.

The hosts had grown into the game, and they opened the scoring on the half-hour when Ekop squared for Kuzminskas whose side-footed effort spun into the bottom corner.

Volenti Academy made personnel and shape changes at the break and were awarded a penalty early in the second half when an attacker was dragged down as he ran onto a ball over the top. The spot-kick was placed home despite a touch from Cobblers captain Panter.

His side nearly restored their lead within a few minutes, but Ekop was unable to get himself set to head in Daniel Collin-Kollowale’s whipped cross.

However, Volenti Academy turned the game around before the hour when a driven corner was met by a deflected finish at the near post.

It was the Cobblers’ turn to equalise the other side of the 60-minute mark, Ekop slotting into the bottom corner after the ball was worked to him at the far stick.

Ingman’s curled free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by the ‘keeper as the hosts looked to restore their advantage soon after.

Gabriel Badero took on two defenders and fired a low shot inches wide and Collin-Kollowale mis-hit his effort having controlled a low ball across goal as the Cobblers continued to force opportunities heading into the final quarter-of-an-hour.

Volenti Academy scored against the run of play again to retake the lead late on, another low corner causing problems for the hosts’ defence and finding the back of the net via a slight touch on the edge of the six yard box.

There was still time for more Cobblers chances. Joel Halsall’s free-kick from a few yards inside the opposition half was dropped by the ‘keeper, but the ball hit Collin-Kollowale and rolled wide of the back post.

Halsall thought he had netted an added-time equaliser when he ran in front of the Volenti Academy stopper and flicked a header over him that was cleared, but his appeals that the ball had crossed the line were waved away and his side fell to a narrow loss.

Cobblers: Billy Panter, Leon Considine, Kyle Stratford, Mackay Dewar, Joel Halsall, Jack Culwick, Daniel Collin-Kollowale, Romeo Ingman, Rojus Kuzminskas, Gabriel Badero, Mmenim Ekop

Substitutes: Tom Lewis, Kyran Yeomans, Louey Franks, Kian Brown, Leo Wiles

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