Northampton Town Under 18s lost 3-1 away to Cambridge United in the EFL Youth Alliance South East on Saturday morning.
James Owen scored the young Cobblers’ goals as they suffered a defeat in their penultimate match of the regular season.
Coach Shane Goddard made three changes to the side that won away to Leyton Orient on Tuesday, as Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Harry Guess and Joziah Barnett replaced Jacob Scott, Reuben Wyatt and Jamari Hart in the starting lineup.
The Cobblers made a positive start but it was Cambridge who created the first chance of the game, Randy Bulakio breaking through on goal and forcing Marcus Bald into a low save from the edge of the box.
The hosts opened the scoring on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, Bulakio running onto a bouncing ball and hooking past the onrushing Bald.
The visitors regained their control of possession after conceding and equalised midway through the opening period when Owen floated in a corner, the ‘keeper missed the ball, it hit the post and spun over the line.
Two opportunities fell to Neo Dobson early in the second half, the forward firing over from Tom Cartwright’s low ball into the area before spotting the ‘keeper off his line and curling over the bar from out wide.
Cambridge restored their lead against the run of play on the hour as Bald made a fingertip save but an opponent headed in the close-range rebound.
Barnett hit the bar with a looping header from Owen’s cross as the Cobblers came inches from a second leveller, and the hosts doubled their advantage a few minutes later when a low strike from the edge of the box nestled in the bottom corner.
Cambridge were reduced to 10 players when a midfielder was shown a second yellow card for a trip on the halfway line, but the visitors were unable to stage a late comeback. Their best chance in the closing stages was substitute Jason Okunnu’s penalty-spot header from Matthew Ireland’s cross which bounced wide.
The youth team end the regular season at home to Milton Keynes Dons next week.
Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Tom Cartwright, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Jozef Baxter, Matthew Ireland, James Owen, Josh Rayfield, Charlie Carroll, Harry Guess, Joziah Barnett, Neo Dobson
Substitutes: Elliot Smith, George Daldy, Freddie Findlay, Oliver Evans, Jason Okunnu