Waters scores hat-trick as Cobblers beat Cambridge in high-scoring friendly
Birthday boy Billy Waters bagged a hat-trick and Matty Warburton scored another two as Cobblers beat Cambridge United 5-3 in a reserve team friendly at Moulton College on Tuesday.
Among the players to get some game-time in the behind-closed-doors fixture were Camron McWilliams and fit-again goalkeeper Steve Arnold, who came through 45 minutes unscathed, while Kettering loanee Jay Williams and fellow teenager Jack Newell also started.
Cobblers had the first opening inside two minutes when Waters fired over before another chance came moments later as academy forward Michael Harding picked out Warburton and he crossed for Waters, whose effort dropped just wide.
The U's then went close on 11 minutes after a corner from the left fell kindly for a visiting midfielder on the edge of the box but Arnold was left untroubled as the ball fizzed over the bar.
Town got the breakthrough with Waters finding the net. Midfielder Newell won possession in midfield with a superb sliding challenge and then found Waters who picked out the net via the woodwork.
The visitors replied almost immediately from the penalty spot following a foul, with forward Harvey Knibbs converting from 12 yards.
Warburton replied in kind, also scoring from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box, and a third goal quickly followed after a superb team move, Warburton, Harding and Waters combining for the latter to finish powerfully.
Williams then went close after a well-worked short corner on the right, with McWilliams delivering a teasing cross but the header drifted over the bar.
Williams was also well positioned to clear a cross inside his own six-yard box as the visitors pushed forward.
Football & Education scholar Ethan Johnston then did superbly to turn his marker on the right and deliver the cross for Waters but he was denied his hat-trick by a last ditch block.
United then pulled one back straight after when winger Knowles raced onto a ball over the top to finish calmly past Fisher.
Cambridge equalised after a dangerous corner from the right resulted in a scramble at the back-post, but the Cobblers were back in front when Waters completed his hat-trick, racing through and tucking home after Johnston was denied by a smart save.
Warburton then added his second and the Cobblers' fifth with a neat finish after cutting inside, beating his man and picking out the bottom corner with the final kick of the game.