With a number of the players making their debut and looking to claim a place in next season’s squad, the team struggled to get any rhythm together in the first half and were soon trailing – when on nine minutes Herefordshire’s Sam Oxley was put through to slot past Northamptonshire keeper Callum Patching.
Herefordshire’s slick movement kept the pressure on the Northants boys, and Oxley was on target again in the 30th and 35th minutes to complete a first half hat-trick. Northamptonshire’s players needed to stem the tide, and they managed to get through to half-time to re-group.
The lessons of the first half were harsh but Northamptonshire began to get back into the game in the second half. Players started to find the rhythm that was lacking before the break and looked a more dangerous outfit as the half progressed.
Herefordshire still posed a threat with the ever dangerous Oxley their star man. Patching pulled off great save on 62 minutes, which proved pivotal as Northants hauled themselves back into the game having the better of the play.
These efforts paid off in the 73rd minute when a penalty was awarded in favour of Northamptonshire, which captain Brandon Williams converted to make it 3-1. Five minutes later it was 3-2 as Williams, who was having a fine game, threaded the ball through for Mitch Clayson to score and set up a tense finish.
Try as they might, the equaliser would not come in the final 12 minutes and the dramatic fightback narrowly failed. This proved to be another close defeat for the team to mark a season of tight results.
Manager Jon Inwood will gain some positives from the second half performance and will be looking forward to getting these players ready for next season.
Callum Patching, Billy May, Cally McTaggart, Brandon William(captain), Jonny Muddiman,
Mitch Clayson, Jake Telford, Jarrod Gregory, Louis Martin, Jack Issett, Will Mellor, Owen
Brumby, Dillan Roberts.
Chairman of the Under-18 group Don Welch and committee member Jeff Kitchener are both standing down as this season finishes, and Northamptonshire FA would like to thank both of them for their substantial contribution to the Under-18 team over the past years.
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