SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday December 7th, 3.00pm
St James Park
EXETER CITY 3
Randell Williams 38
Aaron Martin 64
Alex Fisher 66
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 2
Charlie Goode 33
Sam Hoskins 79
Attendance: 3,971 (247 Cobblers fans)
Exeter: Jonny Maxted, Pierce Sweeney, Nigel Atangana, Aaron Martin, Nicky Law, Randell Williams, Ryan Bowman, Alex Fisher (sub Ben Seymour 79), Dean Moxey, Jack Sparkes (sub Tom Parkes 79), Archie Collins (sub Jake Taylor 87)
Subs not used: Dino Visser, Jayden Richardson, Lee Martin, Matt Jay
Cobblers: David Cornell, Charlie Goode, Jordan Turnbull, Scott Wharton, Nicky Adams, Sam Hoskins, Alan McCormack (sub Egli Kaja 73), Chris Lines, Paul Anderson (sub Ryan Watson 58), Vadaine Oliver, Andy Williams (sub Harry Smith 58)
Subs not used: Steve Arnold, Michael Harriman, Joe Martin, Shaun McWilliams
Referee: Neil Hair
Exeter: Ryan Bowman (30), Alex Fisher (39)
Cobblers: Scott Wharton (42, 3rd of the season)
10 cautions on or before 37 games; 2 match suspension
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
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.
After a two week break from the league due to cup involvement, the Cobblers returned to league action with a trip to fellow promotion contenders Exeter City. Charlie Goode made his 100th league appearance while former Cobblers loanee winger Lee Martin was on the bench for the home side.
In a fairly even opening ten minutes, Sam Hoskins saw a shot blocked while on the counter-attack Exeter’s Ryan Bowman curled an effort just wide. It was a tight game with clear cut chances at a premium for both sides but Andy Williams went close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half, heading over from Vadaine Oliver’s cross.
Some quick thinking from Williams led to a double chance for Hoskins but after seeing his initial shot blocked by a recovering Grecians defender he then couldn’t find the target from a difficult angle on the follow-up.
The Cobblers made the breakthrough on 33 minutes, skipper Charlie Goode with a fine finish into the bottom corner following some terrific break up play by Alan McCormack and a cross in from Nicky Adams.
Exeter weren’t behind for long though, Randell Williams cutting inside after a quickly taken free-kick before drilling home a low shot from 20-yards.
The home side started the second half brightly, Jack Sparkes curling a 25-yard free-kick against the post, a well-placed Nicky Law heading wide and some alert goalkeeping from David Cornell and an important block from Goode also needed to maintain parity. Keith Curle reacted by making a double change with Harry Smith and Ryan Watson on for Williams and Paul Anderson.
Aaron Martin headed Exeter in front on 64 minutes from a quickly taken corner that was originally given as a goal kick and things got worse three minutes later when Alex Fisher made it 3-1 with a close range finish after another ball into the box. To further compound matters, Curle was forced into making his final change after McCormack picked up a knock, Egli Kaja on with just over a quarter of an hour to play.
A fine individual goal from Sam Hoskins had the Cobblers back in the game with 79 minutes on the clock, Hoskins taking the ball round the Exeter defence before sliding a shot into the bottom corner.
Hoskins' goal set up a tense finale at St James Park and the Cobblers pressed hard for an equaliser but despite Vadaine Oliver almost scoring with a spectacular overhead kick, Exeter held on for all three points.
EXETER MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 7
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (4) 7
CORNERS: (3) 9
FOULS: (9) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 1
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 4
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 6
CORNERS: (2) 4
FOULS: (7) 12
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 3