Cobblers Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup run came to an end on Wednesday night as they were edged out 2-0 by Arsenal in the third round.
Jon Brady’s side turned in a spirited and disciplined performance at Meadow Park, the home of National League side Boreham Wood, but a goal in each half sealed the win for the Gunners.
Town started well and Michael Harding and Ryan Hughes both had chances, with Mark McGuinness headed wide for the home side.
Cobblers goalkeeper Bradley Lashley made saves from Sam Greenwood and Folarin Balogun, before the deadlock was broken seven minutes before the break with Balogun netting.
Town almost equalised just before the break, but Harding shot into the side netting after being played in by Camron McWilliams and Morgan Roberts then saw his 30-yard free-kick tipped wide by Gunners goalkeeper Karl Hein.
In the second half, Balogun clipped the top of the crossbar, and at the other end Harding was a whisker away from getting on the end of a Roberts cross.
Roberts again went close with another free-kick from a tight angle, before Hein denied substitute Jack Daldy.
The Cobblers had given their all to get back in the game, but their hearts were broken on 78 minutes when a cross from Zak Swanson looped over everybidy and dropped into the net.
Brady’s men continued to press, and Scott Pollock almost pulled a goal back in stoppage time but he shot over the top.
Arsenal: Karl Hein, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Zak Swanson (Joel Lopez 84), Matthew Smith, Mark McGuiness, Bayli Spencer-Adams (Mazeed Ogbuno 63), Trae Coyle, James Olayinka, Folarin Balogun, Sam Greenwood (Yunus Musah 72), Ben Cottrell. Subs not used: Arthur Okonkwo, Miguel Azeez.
Cobblers: Bradley Lashley, Jordan Caswell (Jack Daldy 45), Matty Slinn, Jay Williams, Ryan Hughes, Jacob Ballinger, Jack Newell, Scott Pollock, Morgan Roberts (Joe Jarvis 84), Michael Harding, Camron McWilliams. Subs not used: Lewis Patching, Urijah Gordan-Douglas, Ryan Smith.
Booked: Arsenal: Sam Greenwood (26), Vontae Daley-Campbell (33), Mark McGuiness (44). Cobblers: None
Sent off: Arsenal: none. Cobblers: none