LEE Bradbury endured a Sixfields sickener as makeshift Cherries exited the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in dramatic fashion last night.

Bradbury squandered a gilt-edged chance to put Eddie Howe’s troops through to the area quarter-finals when he saw his 87th-minute penalty saved by Town goalkeeper Chris Dunn.

And to rub salt into his gaping wounds, the 34-year-old was then culpable as The Cobblers booked their place in the next round with a penalty of their own deep into added time. Bradbury was penalised for a foul on Town substitute Courtney Herbert before Ryan Gilligan dispatched emphatically the resultant spot kick to send the hosts through.

Boss Howe was forced to make no fewer than four changes to his starting line-up as Cherries’ injury crisis escalated to a full-blown pandemic.

First-team regulars Shwan Jalal, Jason Pearce, Liam Feeney and leading goalscorer Brett Pitman were all ruled out due to various ailments.

Dan Thomas, Marvin Bartley, Josh McQuoid and twice-retired assistant manager Jason Tindall were drafted in as replacements.

Northampton, with newly-appointed boss Ian Sampson at the helm for the first time, also made four changes as they looked to repeat their August league win over Cherries.

Cherries enjoyed the better of the opening skirmishes with Town defender Chris McCready almost diverting Tindall’s shot past his own goalkeeper Dunn after eight minutes.

The Cobblers, meanwhile, certainly lived up to their nickname during the early stages as a succession of passes went astray. The theme continued throughout the first half.

McQuoid carved out a second shooting opportunity for Cherries after 22 minutes, his 25-yarder flashing narrowly wide following a surging run from deep.

Bartley went from villain to hero in the blink of an eye after his skewed clearance had presented Steve Guinan with a sight of goal. But the 23-year-old, filling in at the heart of the Cherries defence, recovered to thwart the big Town striker with a perfectly-timed saving tackle.

The hosts continued to disappoint an expectant Sixfields crowd as Cherries’ teenage stopper Thomas was afforded a watching brief for much of the opening period.

And it was no surprise when Cherries forged deservedly into the lead with Hollands registering his first goal of the season after 33 minutes.

The Cherries skipper lashed the ball into the roof of the net after the hosts had made a hash of dealing with Edgar’s arcing free kick into the mix.

Northampton’s cause was hindered by Alan Connell, the striker making a nuisance of himself at the far post as Edgar’s precise delivery prompted ambivalence in the home ranks.

A crescendo of boos from the home crowd greeted the half-time whistle, while Howe’s troops were cheered from the pitch by their band of 204 hardy followers.

Thomas was seriously tested for the first time just seconds after the restart, although the young goalkeeper was more than equal to Michael Jacobs’ low shot.

A former pupil at Portchester School, Thomas, 17, got down smartly to his right to usher the ball wide of the upright with a firm hand.

Edgar’s nifty footwork created an opening for Connell, although the striker’s clipped effort from distance failed to trouble Dunn.

And Thomas’s confidence received a further boost when he saved comfortably after Jacobs had unleashed a fierce drive through a crowd of bodies.

Thomas, however, was powerless to prevent Guinan from restoring parity, the equaliser coming midway through the second half. Guinan timed his run to perfection to meet Gilligan’s probing free kick with a thumping header from 10 yards into the bottom corner of the net.

Town substitute Herbert then capitalised on some defensive hesitancy, only to miss an absolute sitter with an open goal gaping in front of him.

A double substitution after 72 minutes saw Tindall and McQuoid replaced by George Webb and Danny Ings, the latter introduced for his first taste of action.

And with 11 minutes remaining, Jayden Stockley, a 16-year-old striker from Lytchett Minster School, was also handed his debut as Warren Cummings made way.

Thomas distinguished himself with a top-drawer save from Herbert, the rookie goalkeeper parrying the striker’s close-range effort with seven minutes remaining.

And although Bradbury had the chance to settle the tie from the spot three minutes from time, Dunn saved his penalty after McCready had been penalised for handball.

Bradbury’s misery was compounded when he was judged to have fouled Herbert deep into stoppage time and, after referee Pat Miller had pointed to the spot, Gilligan made no mistake when he sent Thomas the wrong way to send the Cobblers through.