Northampton Town advanced to the Third Round of the Checkatrade Trophy as they beat fellow League 2 outfit Cambridge United 4-2 on penalties.

After a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes, goalkeeper Lewis Ward was the hero as he denied Ade Azeez and Jevani Brown from 12 yards. Northampton needed a late goal to force spot-kicks, with Kevin van Veen’s equaliser coming in the 89th minute, but managed to do enough to win.

The home side had taken in the lead early in a clash of two sides who had a weekend off after First Round exits in the FA Cup. George Maris struck in an opener inside the first 10 minutes for the home side with a fine right-footed effort after Northampton initially failed to clear.

Northampton were under pressure early, with a defensive blockade from Jordan Turnbull required to stop Maris picking up a quickfire second.

The away side did improve closer to the break, with their best opportunity seeing Junior Morais denied by Dimitar Mitov after he got onto Shay Facey’s cross.

The second period of the match became steadily more stretched. Morais saw an effort curl wide, before Cambridge saw Brown denied by Ward and Maris punt a shot wide.

To try and get back into, the Cobblers made a triple substitution, but it looked in vain until the final minutes when Northampton forced a major goalmouth scramble that van Veen eventually managed to turn into a goal.

That forced penalty, and Ward was on hand to deny Azeez and Brown with Cambridge’s first two penalties. Northampton’s Ash Taylor hit the bar with the away side’s second, but the visitors scored all their remaining spot-kicks and advance a further round.