Roberts and Foley on target as Cobblers see off Sileby Rangers in opening pre-season friendly
Cobblers began their pre-season campaign with a relatively subdued 2-0 victory over Sileby Rangers on Tuesday evening.
On the same night as England's World Cup clash with Colombia, which made for an unsurprisingly depleted attendance at Sileby's Fernie Fields ground, Town got pre-season up and running with their traditional curtain-raiser against the local outfit who ply their trade in the United Counties League.
Teenager Morgan Roberts scored the opening goal of the game 18 minutes from time, neatly heading in Daniel Powell's left-wing cross via the far post, before Sam Foley added a late second.
Almost all returning players from last season were given a run-out as two different teams took to the pitch each half and they were joined by new signing Andy Williams, plus academy quintet Roberts, Sean Whaler, Camron McWilliams, Joe Iaciofano and James Goff, the former two having signed professional contracts with the club earlier in the summer.
Matt Crooks was left out but is expected to feature against St Albans at the weekend as the club look to ease him back to full fitness following his hamstring problems last season, and Dean Bowditch is still recovering from an injury picked up while on loan at Stevenage.
Sileby came closest to scoring in a low-key and scrappy first-half that was typical of a pre-season friendly as David Cornell twice saved from long-range, one of which was an excellent full-length diving stop from a free-kick that looked destined for the top corner.
Kevin van Veen whipped his own free-kick narrowly over while Iaciofano caught the eye with some bright moments on the right side of midfield and right-back Aaron Phillips was sharp on his return from a long-term injury.
A completely fresh XI, including the fit-again Aaron Pierre and young forward Roberts, took to the field in the second-half but free-kicks continued to be the only source of goalmouth action with Sam Hoskins and Roberts clearing the crossbar.
Town's superior quality eventually told with 18 minutes to go when Powell, who was a constant threat on the left wing, saw his cross guided into the far corner by the head of Roberts.
A similar goal on the other flank doubled the away team's advantage late on, Shay Facey's fierce cross diverted beyond the home goalkeeper by Foley, and that wrapped up a winning start to pre-season for the Cobblers.
Cobblers first-half team: Cornell, Phillips, Taylor (c), Turnbull, (Camron) McWilliams, Whaler, O'Toole, Bridge, Iaciofano, van Veen, Williams
Second-half: Goff, Facey, Barnett, Pierre, Buchanan (c), Waters, Foley, (Shaun) McWilliams, Powell, Roberts, Hoskins