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EFL Youth Alliance action

23 September 2023



EFL Youth Alliance action

23 September 2023

Northampton Town Under 18s lost 2-1 away to Milton Keynes Dons in the EFL Youth Alliance South East on Saturday morning.

The defeat ended the young Cobblers’ five-match winning run in all competitions.

Coach Shane Goddard named an unchanged starting line up after success at home to Stevenage last week.

The visitors fell behind early on when Joshua Adepoju was tripped in the box and smashed home the rebound after Marcus Bald saved his initial penalty.

Jamari Hart laid the ball off to James Owen whose low strike from the edge of the area went wide as the Cobblers searched for an instant reply.

Tommy Blennerhassett fired over from 20 yards at the end of a mazy dribble, Bald denied Adepoju at his near post and Kyle Boyce arrived at the far stick to flash a first-time effort across goal as the hosts threatened three times in quick succession midway through the opening period.

Matty Ireland played Hart through with a defence-splitting pass at the other end a few minutes later, but Seb Stacey sprinted off his line to slide in and clear the danger.

Josh Tomlinson powered a header towards goal from Owen’s corner late in the first half, but the ‘keeper tipped it onto the crossbar and pushed away Owen’s curled follow-up.

The visitors’ frustration in front of goal continued shortly after the restart as Harry Guess’ acrobatic attempt was beaten away by Stacey, Owen’s shot was blocked and Tomlinson’s header was cleared off the line during a period of sustained pressure in the MK Dons box.

The hosts soon doubled their lead when Joel Anker left Bald no chance with a 30-yard free-kick that arrowed into the top corner.

The Cobblers failed to clear a corner and Charlie Waller half-volleyed the loose ball off the underside of the bar as MK Dons came inches from extending their advantage the other side of the hour, whilst Hart shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired over from the edge of the box in response moments later.

The visitors were handed a lifeline with a quarter-of-an-hour of normal time remaining. Dons captain Charlie Stirland fouled substitute Aleks Jevterevs in the area, the referee deemed the off-the-ball infringement worthy of a straight red card and Reuben Wyatt placed the resulting penalty into the bottom corner to halve the deficit.

The hosts should have sealed all three points despite the numbers disadvantage with five minutes left when the ball deflected to sub Joshua Clark-Anderson at the near post, but Bald reacted quickly to beat his powerful close-range strike away from goal.

The youth team were unable to find a late equaliser as their winning run came to an end. They host Leyton Orient in their next league 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: Will Bewley, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Freddie Findlay, Charlie Carroll, Aleks Jevterevs

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