Colchester United fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday, as an organised and powerful Northampton ran out 2-1 winners.
They were unable to get their free flowing football going until the second half, where they looked like they might get back into the game, only for the Cobblers to add a second late on in the game.
Sammie Szmodics' injury time goal gave hope, but the visitors held on to take the win.
From the off, the Cobblers provided a sterner test in the earlier stages than Crewe on Tuesday night and had the better of the first ten minutes.
First Kevin Van Veen struck in a fierce shot that dipped just over, before Bridge hit in a similarly strong effort that Barnes saved at the second time of asking.
The U’s first effort came after ten minutes when Jackson went on a run down the right, but Dickenson miscued his effort in the box.
Hoskins was the next to go close, twisting and turning in the box before dragging his shot wide and, at the other end, Szmodics had a deflected effort well held by Cornell in the Northampton goal.
As the half hour mark approached, the U’s had their first spell of pressure, with Dickenson and Vincent-Young seeing more of the ball down the left.
Dickenson had a header he couldn’t get on target, as did Senior not long afterwards.
The visitors continued to impress though and Foley went close on 32 minutes when his dipping volley went just past the far post.
The U’s just couldn’t get their game flowing in the first half, and would have been glad to get into the half time interval level with their opponents.
That parity was to only last three minutes in the second half, as Crooks was allowed to progress unchallenged and drove in a low shot that nestled in the bottom corner.
Goalscorer Crooks went close again ten minutes later, forcing a fine save out of Barnes to his left as the visitors sought a second goal.
Boss John McGreal switched it up just after the hour, going 3-5-2 and bringing on Eastman and Mandron for Vincent-Young and Senior.
With Northampton sitting in a little now, the U’s had a bit more joy and Jackson sent over a tempting cross for Pell, whose header was well saved by Cornell.
Next, Jackson took sight of goal himself, sending in a low shot through a host of bodies that the keeper saved well.
Jackson then had another shot/cross well held by the keeper as the tide started to turn a little.
They kept up the pressure and Pell sent a free kick just the wrong side of the post, before the U’s introduced Norris for Nouble for the last thirteen minutes.
Norris was straight into the action, crashing a header off the bar with the keeper beaten from Jackson’s cross.
O’Toole skewed a shot off target from a central position, but the visitors got the second and decisive goal just as injury time got underway. A shot from out wide found its way to the far post, and Waters was on hand to tap home from a yard out.
The scoring was not over, though, as Szmodics pulled one back in injury time. It was a scrappy goal, but it gave the U’s hope going into the final moments of the match.
Despite an aerial bombardment in those remaining two minutes, the U’s couldn’t find that equaliser to square the game up and so fell to their first defeat of the season.
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