Albion crashed out of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 defeat on a disastrous night at Northampton.

Goalkeeper Michael Poke made a huge howler for the Cobblers' first goal to get the evening off to a bad start.

It got worse as Matt Sparrow was controversially sent off before the interval and half-time substitute Alan Navarro was stretchered off with what could be a serious knee injury.

Gus Poyet made seven changes to the side that won at Swindon on Saturday, including giving debuts to Poke, Agustin Battipiedi and Cristian Baz.

On the bench was first-year pro Ryan Thomson along with fellow youngsters Steve Cook and Mitch Walker plus four players who started Saturday's game.

Albion fell behind on 12 minutes when Poke allowed a shot from youngster Michael Jacobs through his legs, although he may argue Marcos Painter should have blocked the strike.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later when Ryan Gilligan sent over a delightful cross from the right which Billy McKay headed into the corner.

The game was effectively over ten minutes before the break when Sparrow was harshly shown a straight red card. He pushed Abdul Osman to the ground after conceding a free-kick but it looked no more than a bookable offence.

Poyet made a double change at half-time but Navarro lasted just eight minutes before falling awkwardly and immediately signalling to the bench.

After that it was a case of damage limitation, with substitute Elliott Bennett having Albion's only shot on target in the second half in the dying seconds.

While disappointing to lose to a League Two side, the biggest loss of the night will be Sparrow to a three-match suspension and Navarro to injury.

Albion: Poke; Whing, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter; Battipiedi, Sparrow, Dicker; Holroyd (sub Navarro 46 (sub Smith 55), Hart, Baz (sub Bennett 46). Subs: Barnes, Cook, Thomson, Walker.

Northampton: Jansson; Johnson, Beckwirth, Holt, Hall; Gilligan (sub Thornton 61), Osman, Wedderburn, Jacobs; McKay (sub Herbert 78), Guinan (sub Purcell 72). Subs: Rodgers, Walker, Konstantinou, Harris.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Match analysis and pictures in The Argus tomorrow.