A late goal by debutant substitute Ryan Haynes saw Northampton beat Colchester 3-2 at Sixfields.

In an eventful season opener, Northampton had taken the lead twice through goals by Sam Hoskins, but Colchester pegged the home side back courtesy of strikes by Freddie Sears and Noah Chilvers.

Haynes’ intervention, however, saw Northampton triumph against the side from Essex, and in the process ensure they began the new League 2 season with their first three points of the new campaign.

In the first match of their attempts to move on from last season’s double heartbreak of missing out on automatic promotion on the last day and defeat in the play-offs, Northampton welcomed opponents they beat home and away last season.

Four of the Cobblers’ summer recruits were in from the start, with goalkeeper Lee Burge, defender Sam Sherring and striker Danny Hylton starting, and Tyler Magloire starting after the former loanee signed on a permanent basis.

An eventful opening period saw the two teams trade early chances, as Jon Guthrie was denied by away goalkeeper Sam Hornby before Burge made a save to deny Luke Hannant.

Northampton would open the scoring in the 27th minute. Hylton controlled the ball before playing in Hoskins, who was able to break through and fire past Hornby.

But Colchester would equalise in the final minutes of the first half, after the referee ruled Magloire had fouled Chilvers, and Sears beat Burge from the penalty spot.

In a scrappier second period, Northampton would retake the lead through a penalty of their own with just over 15 minutes remaining.

The referee this time opted to penalise a handball in the box, and Hoskins dispatched the penalty for his second of the afternoon.

But just five minutes later, Colchester equalised again. Frank Nouble’s pass release Chilvers, and he duly fired home via a post.

A dramatic game would have another twist in the 89th minute, when Hoskins crossed for substitute Haynes to fire in a 3rd goal for the home side.

Burge was then called up to deny Chilvers right at the very end, as Jon Brady’s side ground out the three points.