SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday August 8th, 3.00pm
BRISTOL ROVERS 0
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
John-Joe O'Toole 49
Attendance: 8,712 (574 Cobblers fans)
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Ledbitter, James Clarke, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Stuart Sinclair, Tom Lockyer, Chris Lines, Cristian Montano (sub Jeffrey Monakana 60), Matty Taylor (sub Billy Bodin 71), Jermaine Easter (sub Ellis Harrison 56).
Subs not used: Kieran Preston, Ollie Clarke, Jake Gosling, Nathan Blissett.
Cobblers: Adam Smith, Josh Lelan, David Buchanan, Jason Taylor, Zander Diamond, Ryan Cresswell, John-Joe O’Toole (sub Sam Hoskins 74), Joel Byrom, Marc Richards, Nicky Adams (sub Paul Corry 88), Alfie Potter (sub Ricky Holmes 65)
Subs not used: Ryan Clarke, Rod McDonald, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Chris Hackett
Referee: Mark Heywood
Bristol Rovers: Stuart Sinclair (5)
Cobblers: Nicky Adams (25, 1st of the season)
5 cautions on or before 30 November; 1 match suspension
10 cautions on or before 11 April; 2 match suspension
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Bristol Rovers: none
Sendings off: 2 cautions in one game; 1 match suspension but cautions do not count towards above totals. Other sendings off; 1 or 3 match suspension. Extra match ban for additional sendings off.
Northampton Town kicked off their 2015/16 Sky Bet League 2 campaign with a trip to newly promoted Bristol Rovers, who were playing their first game back in the Football League after spending a season in the Conference.
Adam Smith, Josh Lelan, David Buchanan, Nicky Adams and Alfie Potter all made their competitive debuts for Town with five more summer arrivals named on the bench. Brendan Moloney and Evan Horwood both missed the start of the season with injury while Lawson D’Ath (illness) was a late omission from the squad.
The transfer listed John-Joe O’Toole started against his former club while Billy Bodin, who ended the 2014/15 season at Sixfields, was among the Bristol Rovers substitutes.
After a frantic opening few minutes Marc Richards shot narrowly wide when one-on-one with Steve Mildenhall. Zander Diamond then went close on the quarter hour, his curled effort just inches away from breaking the deadlock.
Matty Taylor should have given Bristol Rovers the lead on 38 minutes, but he took too long to get his shot away as Ryan Cresswell recovered well to snuff out the opportunity.
John-Joe O’Toole headed the Cobblers in front on 49 minutes, rising well to connect with a perfectly delivered David Buchanan cross.
Rovers made a couple of changes in an attempt to get themselves back into the game, Ellis Harrison and Jeffrey Monakana the players introduced with just over half an hour to go on a hot afternoon in Bristol.
Ricky Holmes replaced Alfie Potter in Chris Wilder’s first change before ex-Cobbler Billy Bodin came off the bench for the home side. Goalscorer O’Toole then made way for Sam Hoskins as the myriad of second half substitutions continued.
Steve Mildenhall made a great save to keep out a Ryan Cresswell header as the game entered the last 15 minutes, with the Cobblers still looking pretty comfortable on their 1-0 lead.
Another good stop from Mildenhall, this time to thwart Marc Richards kept the home side in the game and but for some good goalkeeping from Adam Smith, Ellis Harrison could have levelled the scores.
The chance for Harrison proved to be the last of the afternoon for either side as the Cobblers claimed all three points on opening day.
BRISTOL ROVERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (0) 1
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (0) 2
CORNERS: (0) 1
FOULS: (4) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (3) 3
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 4
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (5) 6
CORNERS: (5) 9
FOULS: (6) 7
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 1
The above stats are recorded by club staff. The stats shown elsewhere on this page are recorded by Opta