The Northampton Town Football and Education Programme Elite squad lost 3-1 at home to Reading in the National Football Youth League South Premier Division on Wednesday afternoon.
The Royals created the majority of the chances in the first half, Cobblers captain Billy Panter making an early one-on-one stop.
The hosts almost opened the scoring against the run of play on the quarter-of-an-hour mark when Romeo Ingman’s well-hit drive was denied by the ‘keeper, but their opponents took the lead within a minute as a driven cross deflected in.
Two quick goals doubled and extended the visitors’ advantage before the half-hour, an attacker smashing home off the near post from a tight angle and a teammate finding the back of the net with a first-time strike from the edge of the area.
The Cobblers ended the opening 45 minutes in the ascendency and had a goal disallowed shortly before the break, when Mmenim Ekop was adjudged to have been offside having nodded substitute Jack Anderton-Gill’s floated free-kick into the bottom corner.
Panter kept any hopes of his side making a comeback alive with a succession of saves in the early stages of the second period.
Daniel Collin-Kolawole found the far corner at the end of a free-flowing passing move to pull a goal back going into the last 20 minutes.
The forward was involved again late on as he fired the ball across the face of goal from the byline, but sub Harry Cowley was unable to convert from close range as the Cobblers fell to a defeat despite a positive second-half.
Cobblers: Billy Panter, Leon Considine, Kyle Stratford, Jay Hudson, Joel Halsall, Louey Franks, Daniel Collin-Kolawole, Romeo Ingman, Rojus Kuzminskas, Gabriel Badero, Mmenim Ekop
Substitutes: Oskar Gajewski, Harry Cowley, Jack Anderton-Gill, Mackay Dewer