Northampton Town Women were defeated away to Leek Town in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands on Sunday afternoon.
The loss ended the Cobblers’ five-game winning run in the league.
Joint-managers Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams made two changes to the side that won away to Leafield Athletic in the Cobblers’ final fixture of 2023, as Katie McLean and Paige Ridley replaced Holly Mayfield and Bianca Luttman in the starting line up.
The visitors began the game on top and almost took the lead inside 30 seconds as Alex Dicks’ cross-shot from a tight angle was tipped over by Bethany Cottrell.
The Cobblers’ positive start continued until the 10-minute mark, with half-chances falling to both Ridley and Kim Farrow after two separate periods of sustained pressure in the final third.
Leek grew into the contest and tested McLean midway through the opening period, the ‘keeper pushing Millie Edwards’ goal-bound cross away from goal.
It was still the visitors who were creating the clearest opportunities, Jade Bell firing straight at Cottrell, Farrow having a curled free-kick palmed over and Dicks seeing a deflected strike hit the post.
Leek broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half when Katie Maya found the top corner with a 20-yard free-kick, despite a touch from the diving McLean.
The striker burst through on goal and found the bottom corner to double her side’s lead five minutes later.
The Cobblers threatened twice on the hour, both chances coming from loose defensive passes. Bell curled narrowly wide of the far post, moments before Farrow’s low shot was tipped past the post by Cottrell.
The hosts secured all three points with a scrappy third goal going into the final five minutes.
Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams’ side host top-of-the-table Loughborough Lightning next week.
Cobblers: Katie McLean, Paige Ridley, Vicky Barrett, TJ Warren, Zoe Boote, Jess Evans, Mia Richards, Fay Noble, Kim Farrow, Jade Bell, Alex Dicks
Substitutes: Laila Channell, Bianca Luttman, Ruby Heselden, Paris Mallon
Photos: Clive Stapleton