Northampton Town Women lost away to Lincoln City in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands on Sunday afternoon.
The Cobblers controlled periods of the contest but were unable to take their chances and moments of slack defending allowed their opponents to capitalise.
Joint-managers Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams made one change to the side that drew 2-2 at home to Solihull Moors in their last fixture on Thursday, as Beth Artemiou replaced Ruby Heselden in the starting line up.
The Cobblers started well, an early press from Laila Channell leading to half-chances for Ona Ndefo, Annie Villamartin and Artemiou in quick succession.
Villamartin played Jade Bell in on the left side of the box as the visitors’ early dominance continued, but she cut inside and curled over.
Lincoln opened the scoring against the run of play when Toni McHamilton ran onto a through ball and placed into the bottom corner on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
The Cobblers took a few minutes to regain their composure after conceding, and had strong appeals for a penalty waved away midway through the first half when Ndefo dispossessed a defender and drew a foul in the area, but the referee awarded a goal-kick.
The visitors created two chances either side of Leah Hardy smashing their crossbar from Cassie Steward’s edge-of-the-box lay-off, Bell volleying Villamartin’s cross straight at Lana Timson from the penalty spot and almost getting a shot away having received substitute Kitty Crouch’s square ball.
Crouch was involved again 10 minutes into the second half, landing on a clearance and half-volleying narrowly wide from long range.
Beth Artemiou drove towards the halfway line and played sub Alex Dicks in over the top on the hour, but a defender sprinted across the box to clear the danger.
Dicks controlled Katie McLean’s goal-kick and played Crouch in down the right, but her strike whistled past the post as the Cobblers continued to push for an equaliser going into the final 15.
Captain Zoe Boote received the ball on the edge, curled towards goal and hit the top of the bar as the visitors kept searching for the elusive leveller late on.
However, they were dealt a killer blow when Lucy Farrow dribbled down the byline, McLean pushed her initial near post strike onto the post and she fired the rebound into the roof of the net with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Lincoln put the result beyond all doubt when McHamilton slotted home having been played in again and stabbed in to complete her hat-trick in added time.
The Cobblers travel to Sporting Khalsa in their next fixture in a fortnight.
Cobblers: Katie McLean, Paige Ridley, Vicky Barrett, Bianca Luttman, Zoe Boote, Fay Noble, Annie Villamartin, Beth Artemiou, Laila Channell, Jade Bell, Ona Ndefo
Substitutes: Ruby Heselden, TJ Warren, Shannon Cain, Kitty Crouch, Alex Dicks
Photos: Clive Stapleton