Northampton Town have begun the 2019/20 season with a defeat, as they lost 1-0 to Walsall.

James Clarke scored the only goal as a Saddlers side relegated last season took the points on the opening day.

A Cobblers side that started with 9 debutants couldn’t get back on level terms, and ended up with a reverse on the opening day.

After a busy enough start that saw both sides fire off-target, it was Walsall who got the opener as defender Clarke headed in Danny Guthrie’s corner via the bar.

The hosts did have chances to level, but goalkeeper Liam Roberts denied Sam Hoskins and Charlie Goode, while in-between the two efforts, Nicky Adams had a goal disallowed, and Harry Smith was also thwarted by a block during the opening half.

The second half proved to be a much tighter and cagier affair, although Walsall had some running early in the second period as Stuart Sinclair had an effort blocked, Cameron Pring saw a shot stopped and Elijah Adebayo headed wide.

Northampton had some late attempts as Joe Martin curled a free-kick wide and Charlie Goode was denied by Roberts, but they couldn’t prevent victory for the away team.

Keith Curle’s side will look for improvements in their first away game next weekend, which sees Northampton travel to face Port Vale.