Northampton Town Under 18s returned to EFL Youth Alliance South East action with a 2-0 win at home to Stevenage on Saturday morning.
Josh Tomlinson and Harry Guess scored the young Cobblers’ goals as they extended their winning run to five games in all competitions.
Coach Shane Goddard made one change to the side that defeated Bristol Rovers in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup southern section second round last week, as Tomlinson replaced Jozef Baxter in the starting line up.
It was a scrappy start to the game, Stevenage wasting the first clear-cut chance after a quarter-of-an-hour when Makise Evans ran onto a loose ball in the area and fired off target from close range.
The Cobblers’ first opportunity was denied by the woodwork on the half-an-hour mark, Reuben Wyatt controlling a low corner that was played towards the edge of the box and rattling the crossbar.
Both sides threatened late in the opening period, Cobblers captain Jacob Scott having a header hooked off the line and Theo Alexandrou whipping the ball across the face of goal at the other end.
Tanil Salik drove towards the near post and played a similar pass early in the second half, but it was the same outcome as no Stevenage attackers were able to turn home in the middle.
Salik’s deep corner found Tyrique Tekasala as the visitors came close again soon after, but he headed over from six yards.
The Cobblers grew into the half and responded on the hour when Jamari Hart dribbled down the byline and forced Rylee Mitchell into a save with his feet from a tight angle.
Tomlinson bundled James Owen’s floated free-kick over the line at the far post to open the scoring moments later.
The hosts had to remain alert to prevent an almost immediate equaliser, Matty Ireland blocking David Hicks’ powerful strike from the edge and Marcus Bald pouncing on the loose ball before Evans was able to reach it.
Guess doubled the Cobblers’ lead going into the final 20 minutes, receiving Scott’s cutback, jinking around a defender and placing past the onrushing Mitchell.
The hosts saw out the remaining time to secure a clean sheet and an important victory despite not being at their best.
The youth team travel to Milton Keynes Dons in their next fixture in a week’s time.
Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Josh Rayfield, Leo Jenkins, Josh Tomlinson, Matty Ireland, Reuben Wyatt, Harry Guess, Jacob Scott, James Owen, Neo Dobson, Jamari Hart
Substitutes: Elliot Smith, Freddie Findlay, Archie Murray, Charlie Carroll, Aleks Jevterevs