Notts County progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup after a convincing 2-0 victory at Northampton Town.
First-half goals from Jack McMillan and Montel Gibson were enough to ensure safe passage to the next round, where the young Magpies will host either Altrincham Town or Rochdale at Meadow Lane.
Taking place at Sixfields Stadium, the home side started the stronger in possession, only failing to produce in the final third. Notts goalkeeper Joe Searson-Smithard was more than equal to any questions asked of him.
With County earning more impetus as an attacking threat, Gibson had Notts’ first chance of the night, forcing a fine fingertip stop from Cobblers goalkeeper Charlie Andrews as he drove low and hard across goal.
It would be McMillan on 17 minutes who opened the scoring with a superb free-kick.
With the ball at his feet down the right channel, he cut inside past a number of players whilst shaping to shoot but was brought down on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder stepped up and deftly curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner with his left foot. despite the best efforts of Andrews.
The young Magpies doubled their lead before half-time through in-form striker Montel Gibson. Dominic Brownhill's shot was parried straight to Gibson, who showed tremendous skill to find the back of the net with a controlled finish with the outside of his boot.
Andrews kept the home side in the game, tipping Jordan Aghatise's fierce header onto the crossbar before the end of the first period.
In the second-half Searson-Smithard was beginning to grow as the game progressed, making three fine saves to protect his clean sheet. He was fortunate on one occasion as a Cobblers free-kick came back off the post, but he was at his best to deny both Rob Parsons and Tom Carroll shortly afterwards.
Chances became limited thereafter with the hosts restricted to ambitious potshots from distance. On the occasions their attackers found themselves with free headers in the area, they couldn’t trouble the Notts goalkeeper.
Northampton were seeing more of the possession with Notts looking dangerous on the counter-attack. However, neither side could break the second-half deadlock with the final whistle being greeted by great scenes amongst the celebrating Notts County youngsters.
Stay tuned to Magpie PlayerHD in the coming days for post-match reaction and extended highlights.