League Two Club Northampton Town sprang a major surprise in last night’s League Cup third round thanks to a little help from several ASE graduates.
Chris Dunn, Michael Jacobs, Billy McKay, Kevin Thornton and Nathaniel Wedderburn who all came through the ASE programme featured as the Cobbers hit the headlines by knocking out Liverpool after extra-time and penalties in a night of drama at Anfield.
When Milan Jovanovic fired in Liverpool’s opener on 9 minutes nobody could’ve expected what was to follow. But a resilient Northampton Team took advantage of Roy Hodgson decision to give run-outs to a number of fringe players and fought back to level the game through Billy McKay before Michael Jacobs tapped in to give the Cobblers a worthy lead in extra-time.
David Ngog’s late header brought the scores level at 2-2 but as the rain lashed down the tie went to penalities.
Northampton’s Steve Guinan and Liverpool’s Ngog both missed spot kicks before Nathan Eccleston hit the crossbar with Liverpool’s fourth effort, it was left for Abdul Osman to slot home the winning penalty.
Over in Lincolnshire Scunthorpe United’s young squad had their hands full against the holders Manchester United. And despite going down to a 5-2 defeat, the Irons, whose squad included ASE graduates Michael O’Connor, Niall Canavan, Robert Grant and Matt Godden asked questions of a strong United line-up that included Rio Ferdinand, Anderson, Michael Owen and summer signings Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling.
When Josh Wright hit a superb opener for the hosts on 19 minutes an upset appeared to be on the cards but Darron Gibson levelled within 4 minutes with an exquisite lob.
United then went ahead via Chris Smalling’s near post volley and when Michael Owen sprinted clear to add a third the holders were assured of their passage to the next round.
Ji-Sung Park drove home a fourth before Owen tapped in the fifth but Scunthorpe deservedly hit a 91st minute consolation their play merited via the outstretched boot of Martyn Woolford.