Smith and Mills find the net as Cobblers are held by West Brom youngsters

Joseph Mills scored his first goal for the Cobblers.Joseph Mills scored his first goal for the Cobblers.
Joseph Mills scored his first goal for the Cobblers.
Practice match ends in entertaining draw at wind-swept PTS

Cobblers continued their pre-season preparations with a 2-2 draw against West Brom U23s in a practice match at the PTS Academy Stadium on Tuesday.

Tyrese Dyce's magnificent free-kick had the visitors ahead at half-time before Harry Smith and Joseph Mills, with his first Town goal, turned things around, but another fine strike earned Albion a draw.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Manager Keith Curle used the fixture as an opportunity to take another look at the four players currently on trial at the club. Antonio German led the line alongside Ethan Johnston with Ricky Korboa at wing-back, Samir Carruthers in midfield and Connor Johnson at centre-back.

Carruthers was involved in the early action when his corner was steered wide by Fraser Horsfall, while Taylor Gardner-Hickman curled one high and wide for the visitors.

Cobblers enjoyed the benefit of a strong wind in the first-half as Storm Francis swept through the PTS, but they could not turn the favourable conditions into a half-time lead with Matty Warburton's close-range shot scrambled away and German scuffing a shot too close to the goalkeeper.

Instead, it was the young visitors who moved into a surprise lead when, on the cusp of half-time, and against the run of play, Dyce brilliantly picked out the top corner with a free-kick from all of 35 yards.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Korboa was the only trialist to emerge for the second-half after Curle rang the changes, but it was two old boys who combined for the equaliser when Ryan Watson's high cross was headed home by Smith six minutes after the break.

And the Cobblers were ahead on the hour-mark as the two-wing backs combined with Mills blasting Michael Harriman's low cross into the roof of the net.

But the young visitors swiftly hit back and their leveller was another stylish goal, Owen Windsor curling into the top corner following a slick one-two on the edge of the box.

The second-half was a more entertaining, open encounter and only a fine stop prevented Sam Hoskins from restoring Town's lead before the same man saw a shot blocked.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was a brief glimpse of Town's new-look back three midway through the half when Luka Racic was introduced for the first time to partner Cian Bolger and Horsfall in defence.

Jonathan Mitchell was the man in goal for the second-half and a couple of routine late stops ensured the contest ended all square.

Cobblers first-half XI: Arnold, Johnson (trialist), Horsfall, Joe Martin, Korboa (trialist), Lines, Carruthers (trialist), Roberts, Warburton, German (trialist), Johnston

Cobblers second-half XI: Mitchell, Horsfall, Bolger, Martin (Racic 67), Harriman (Marshall 67), Mills, Missilou, Watson, Hoskins, Smith, Korboa (trialist)

West Brom U23s starting XI: Anderson, White, Harmon, Taylor, Sharpe, Solanke, Gardner-Hickman, Brown, Windsor, Clayton-Phillips, Dyce