Johnston the hero as young Cobblers team claims last-gasp success in Maunsell Cup Final
Supersub Ethan Johnston netted a last-gasp winner as a young Cobblers team claimed the Maunsell Cup with a dramatic 2-1 win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night.
It was a Town Development XI that made the short trip to Hayden Road in Rushden, with Scott Pollock captaining a side made up of young professionals and players from the youth system.
The only senior professional involved was Billy Waters, who is currently on the transfer list at the PTS Academy Stadium.
The Cobblers started well and took the lead through Caleb Chukwuemeka, but a spirited Diamonds side fought back to level with just six minutes remaining through Jack Ashton.
The game seemed to be heading towards a stalemate, but in the dying seconds Johnston popped up to snatch the victory and the silverware for the Cobblers.
The team selected for the clash saw Will Bates and Johnston, who were both part of the club's Football & Education programme side who won the National Football Youth League Southern Championship title last season, named among the substitutes.
The Cobblers were in the ascendancy early on and went close through full-back Richie Bailey and Morgan Roberts, before the latter crossed for Chukwuemeka to finish from close range to make it 1-0.
Diamonds were having their moments, and Bradley Lashley had to make a couple of smart saves in the Cobblers goal, but it stayed 1-0 at the break despite further efforts from Waters and Roberts..
Lashley saved well from Jack Bowen in the opening moments of the second half and the Cobblers keeper was called in to action again with 12 minutes left, palming a header over the bar before denying Sam Johnson moments later.
On 84 minutes, Diamonds levelled through an Ashton header, but the home side's joy was short-lived as Johnston scored the winner.
Cobblers team: Bradley Lashley, Richie Bailey, Ryan Hughes, Jay Williams, Josh Flanagan, Caleb Chukwuemeka, Scott Pollock, Ryan Smith, Morgan Roberts, Billy Waters, Michael Harding. Subs: Will Patching, Will Bates, Ewan Clark, Tom Scott, Ethan Johnston