Town fall to defeat at home against promoted Northampton Town.
Town’s first league game at home in the 2020/21 campaign ended in defeat as Northampton Town were able to capitalise against the run of play and leave with all three points.
Despite the constant control of the game after going a goal behind early on, it was the visitors who were able to find a winner out of nothing as Sam Hoskins cancelled out the Shaun Whalley equaliser mid-way through the second half.
The opening exchanges saw a clash of heads between Town captain Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Northampton’s Benny Ashley-Seal. Ashley-Seal managed to climb to his feet in good time, as for Ebanks-Landell, he was shortly replaced by Josh Daniels and the armband was passed to Town 10 Josh Vela.
After a lack of chances for either side in the opening ten minutes, it was the away side that broke the deadlock in the 12th minute. Left-back Joseph Mills hit the by-line and cut back the cross beating the Town defenders and forward, Mark Marshall, found a yard of space to smash home.
Town’s first real chance of the game came just after the 20-minute mark, a delightful lofted ball from Jason Cummings onto the toes of Rekeil Pyke. Luckily for Northampton, Steve Arnold was well-positioned to keep the away side in the lead.
As the game approached the half time break, Town were tiring the visitors with long spells of possession. They managed to break into the box down the left through Shaun Walley, who aimed to poke his effort in at the near post but saw the ball agonisingly roll along the goal line and no Town player was there to equalise.
As the first half stoppage of six minutes started to peter out, Town came close again with a long-range effort from left-back Scott Golbourne. The ball came rolling out to him just outside the box and his slashed effort, aiming for the far corner, was beaten away by the ever so solid Cobbler’s keeper, Arnold.
Town looked to pick up where they left off in the second half with long spells of possession and again used the wide men in Rickett’s new 4-3-3 set up as the main outlet for the switch pass to get them on the break.
Town’s Shaun Whalley broke through with 51 minutes on the clock after a mistimed Northampton challenge put the ball through to Whalley who had time to look up but only fire his strike into the clutch of Arnold.
Moments later, Walley found himself latching onto another deep switch by Cummings and this time his curling effort too much for Arnold and Town find their constant pressure finally paying off with the equaliser.
Northampton found themselves in the lead out of nothing. A ball was hooked forward and on-coming Town keeper, Matija Sarkic misjudged the bounce and found himself in no man’s land as Sam Hoskins tapped into the empty net.
Sarkic was called into action after 70 minutes as the ball was bouncing back and forth in the Town box and when the trigger was pulled by goalscorer Hoskins, the Town keeper made himself big and denied the effort.
Town: 31. Matija Sarkic, 3.Scott Golbourne, 5.Ro-Shaun Williams, 7.Shaun Whalley, 9.Rekeil Pyke (Udoh 69’), 10.Josh Vela, 16.Brad Walker, 18.Marlon Fossey (Love 84’), 24.Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Daniels 5’), 25.Scott High, 35.Jason Cummings.
Subs: 1. Harry Burgoyne, 12.Ryan Sears, 17.Donald Love, 22.Josh Daniels, 23.Daniel Udoh, 26.James Rowland, 36.Louis Lloyd.
Northampton: 1.Steve Arnold, 2.Micheal Harriman, 3.Joe Martin, 5.Cian Bolger, 7.Sam Hoskins, 8.Ryan Watson, 20.Matt Warburton (Lines 86’), 22.Benny Ashley-Seal (Chukwuemeka 44’), 23.Joseph Mills, 27.Christopher Missilou, 45.Mark Marshall (Roberts 90’).
Subs: 13.Jonathan Mitchell, 14.Chris Lines, 19.Morgan Roberts, 31.Ethan Johnston, 30.Caleb Chukwuemeka, 32.M.Dyche, 33.J.Flanagan
Referee: Neil Hair
Assistant Referees: Steven Plane, Christopher Husband
Fourth Official: David Hunt
Northampton midfielder Christopher Missilou brought down Shaun Whalley on his weaving run towards the edge of the area and was booked for his niggle on his way into the challenge.
Town’s Josh Daniels entered the book after a late challenge on the edge of the Town box.
Scott High saw yellow after a high challenge on Northampton 45, Mark Marshall.
Northampton substitute Caleb Chukwuemeka was booked after kicking the ball away twice in a matter of minutes.