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Academy

YOUTH TEAM DRAW AT STEVENAGE

A report on Saturday's EFL Youth Alliance action

13 January 2024

Academy

YOUTH TEAM DRAW AT STEVENAGE

A report on Saturday's EFL Youth Alliance action

13 January 2024

Northampton Town Under 18s drew 0-0 away to Stevenage in the EFL Youth Alliance South East on Saturday morning.

The point extends the young Cobblers’ unbeaten run in the league to three games.

Coach Shane Goddard made two changes to the side that secured a victory in the opening fixture of the New Year away to Brentford last week, as Jacob Scott and Oliver Evans replaced Archie Murray and Jamari Hart in the starting line up.

The visitors struggled to maintain possession and remained under pressure for the majority of the first half, Marcus Bald stopping Lenny Brown’s deflected shot with his legs and recovering to beat away Ryan Doherty’s first-time drive.

Stevenage had two excellent opportunities to take the lead midway through the opening 45 minutes. Makise Evans’ effort was cleared off the line by Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, but Bald had caught Tyrique Tekasala as he squared the ball for the striker and the referee awarded a penalty. The Cobblers were let-off the hook as Evans dragged his spot-kick wide.

James Owen’s drilled wide free-kick on the half-an-hour mark was their first sight of goal, Max Woodford pushing the ball past the near post.

Bald was required again five minutes later, diving at full-stretch to deny Tekasala’s low volley from a floated pass towards the far post and pouncing on the loose ball before the defender was able to follow-up.

The final two chances of the opening period fell to the Cobblers, Harry Guess having a strike from a tight angle turned behind by Woodford at the near post and Licorish-Mullings being denied by the ‘keeper from close range after Owen’s resulting corner dropped at his feet.

The visitors started brightly after the restart and threatened early on when Matthew Ireland’s long-range effort bounced in front of Woodford and narrowly wide and Owen shot low across the face of goal having ran onto Leo Jenkins’ through ball.

Licorish-Mullings’ long throw deflected off a crowd of bodies in the six yard box on the hour, but Woodford dived towards the near post to make a save as the Cobblers continued to push forward in search of the opening goal.

The ‘keeper got away with a huge mistake going into the last 20 minutes. He dropped Owen’s clipped free-kick under very little pressure, which allowed half-time substitute Joziah Barnett to bundle across the line. However, the referee disallowed the goal and awarded a foul, much to the dismay of the Cobblers players and coaching staff.

Stevenage made far fewer entries into the final third in the second half, but they came close with two similar chances in the final 10. Captain David Hicks fired wide from 30 yards before Doherty set himself and hit the top of the bar.

The youth team host AFC Wimbledon next week. The Cobblers youngsters conceded a late winner in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season.

Cobblers: Marcus Bald, Tom Cartwright, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Leo Jenkins, Matthew Ireland, Jacob Scott, Josh Rayfield, Harry Guess, James Owen, Charlie Carroll, Oliver Evans

Substitutes: Elliot Smith, Freddie Findlay, George Daldy, Joziah Barnett, Jason Okunnu


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