Depleted Cobblers beaten in pre-season friendly at Stamford

Stamford 2 Northampton 1

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 2:13 pm
Mitch Pinnock. Picture: Pete Norton.

Cobblers were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by non-league outfit Stamford AFC in their third pre-season friendly on a blisteringly hot Saturday afternoon at the Zeeco Stadium.

Without a number of first-team players who were self-isolating, Town named a very makeshift side in south Lincolnshire, including Jay Williams on trial, and found themselves two goals down at the break.

Benny Ashley-Seal's tidy finish pulled one back for much-changed XI in the second-half, but Cobblers could not turn it around and slipped to defeat.

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Former academy player Williams, who has been back training with the club during pre-season, started the game in midfield as one of two trialists, joining Josh Debayo.

Max Dyche and Nicke Kabamba also returned but several players were self-isolating - including Sam Hoskins, Scott Pollock and the McWilliams brothers - and therefore missed out.

Paul Lewis saw a low shot saved as Cobblers dominated possession early on, but they fell behind to a 16th-minute strike by Cameron Johnson who got the wrong side of Town's defence and clinically fired past Jonny Maxted.

A smart reaction stop by Maxted prevented Rodrigo Goncalves from doubling Stamford's lead three minutes later before Town gradually improved, albeit without creating too many clear opportunities.

And they found themselves two down at the break after James Blunden headed a free-kick beyond the reach of Maxted and into the bottom corner.

Brady made eight changes at half-time but it was a player from the first-half who pulled one back 10 minutes after the break when Ashley-Seal latched onto Sid Nelson's long ball and lifted a smart finish up and over the home goalkeeper.

Dylan Connolly was far too quick for his man and almost set up a second for Ashley-Seal a few minutes, but Town looked laboured after a hard week of training and chances were few and far between thereafter.

Stamford starting XI: Peverell, Burgess, Bartle, Armstrong, Wright (c), Blunden, O'Hare, Vince, Hicks, Johnson, Goncalves

Cobblers first-half XI: Maxted, McGowan, Guthrie, Dyche, Debayo (trialist), Williams (trialist), Cross, Lewis, Pinnock, Ashley-Seal, Kabamba

Cobblers second-half XI: Roberts, Harriman, Horsfall (c), Nelson, Debayo, Flanagan, Williams, Connolly, Flores, Ashley-Seal, Chukwuemeka