Cobblers U18s have been knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after losing 2-1 to Colchester United in Wednesday's first-round tie at the PTS Academy Stadium.
There was little in the first-half but United, a category two side, seized the upper-hand in the second 45 minutes and won through to round two thanks to goals from Diogo Freitas-Gouveia and Jake Hutchinson.
Michael Harding scored a late consolation two minutes from time but it came too late to save the Cobblers from exiting the competition.
Both teams made a tentative start but the action soon warmed up on a freezing evening at the PTS as the lively Harding caused problems with his pace.
But the best chances of a cagey first-half fell to Colchester with excellent last-ditch defending from Richie Bailey denying Andre Hasanally before Hutchinson rattled the crossbar with a header.
Hutchinson also hooked just over from a corner but the Cobblers, led by tenacious captain Haydn Price in midfield, got into half-time on level terms.
Colchester continued to see more of the play in the second-half, though, and they went in front just shy of the hour-mark when Freitas-Gouveia latched onto a through ball and slotted under the onrushing Lewi Patching.
The same man spurned a great chance to make it two a few minutes later as he went through on goal but sliced well over the crossbar.
It didn't matter though because the visitors had a second on 70 minutes and Freitas-Gouveia was again involved, getting away down the right and crossing for Hutchinson who smacked home first-time.
Hutchinson missed a couple of chances to add a third and he was almost made to pay when Harding turned in Ethan Johnston's late cross, but it was too little too late for the Cobblers.
Cobblers U18s: Patching, Bailey, Ballinger (Curry 88), Price (c), Flanagan, Scott (Fowler 64), Smith, Cross, Johnston, Chukmuewenka (Clark 88), Harding.
Subs not used: Berry, Dyche, Gilbert, Bates
Colchester U18s: Hallett, Akolbire, Kazeem, Cornish (c), Cracknell, Fouche, Freitas-Gouveia, Marshall-Miranda, Hutchinson, Hasanally, Thomas (Tovide 82)
Subs not used: Collins, Stagg, Terry, Parish, Tovide, Redgrave
Referee: Ciaran Fidler