Cobblers show promise despite defeat to Nottingham Forest in latest pre-season friendly
Northampton Town 0 Nottingham Forest 2
Two second-half goals saw Championship side Nottingham Forest just about overcome the Cobblers in their latest pre-season at Sixfields on Tuesday evening.
Town provided their supporters with plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming campaign despite the end result, particularly in the first-half when they played some good stuff and were the better side.
Forest improved in the second 45 minutes and ultimately came away with victory thanks to goals from Lyle Taylor and Cafu, but manager Jon Brady will feel he has lots to build on two and a half weeks out from the opening game.
The audition for Town's left-back spot continued with Ali Koiki, formerly of Bristol Rovers, the latest to be given a go. Josh Debayo was not involved, suggesting his trial might be over, while the players who missed out at the weekend for COVID reasons were again absent.
The game started with the intensity and tempo of a competitive match and Cobblers, playing 4-4-2, were on the front foot straightaway with Mitch Pinnock causing early problems down the left-hand side.
Forest's first attack came on 11 minutes and it would have yielded the breakthrough if not for a superb reaction stop by Liam Roberts, who was at full stretch to tip Alex Mighten's fierce strike over the crossbar.
But the first-half was an even and entertaining watch and Cobblers were matching - if not bettering - their Championship guests, going close to the opener when Aaron McGowan, impressive at right-back, whipped in a fine cross and Jordan Smith clawed away Nicke Kabamba's header.
Benny Ashley-Seal was then forced off with what looked an ankle injury, replaced by Caleb Chukwuemeka, and chances were at a premium for the rest of the first-half.
Forest came out with more gusto in the second-half and struck just three minutes in when substitute Taylor rounded Roberts and tapped into an empty net.
Joe Lolley sent a vicious strike just over but Town were still in the contest and they were inches away from a leveller when Chukwuemeka shot wide on the turn after being picked out by Dylan Connolly.
Kabamba saw an effort chalked off for offside before Forest doubled their lead through Cafu, who rifled a superb shot into the bottom corner from long-range.
The scoreline was harsh on the Cobblers and they could do nothing about it in the remaining time as Smith saved comfortably from Kabamba before he was then at full stretch to keep out Michael Harriman's long-range screamer. Connolly also spooned over with the goal at his mercy.
Cobblers: Roberts (Maxted 67), McGowan (Harriman 67), Horsfall (Dyche 78), Guthrie (c) (Nelson 67), Koiki (trialist), Lewis, Flores (Flanagan 75), Pinnock (Cross 75), Connolly, Ashley-Seal (Chukwuemeka 33), Kabamba
Subs not used: Williams (trialist)
Forest: Smith, Gabriel (Back 82), Worrall (Konate 63), McKenna (Mbe Soh 45), Richardson, Yates (Fornah 75), Cafu, Lolley (Da Costa 63), Carvalho, Mighten (Fernandes 63), Grabban (Taylor 45)
Subs not used: Wright
Referee: Dean Whitestone