SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday April 2nd, 3.00pm
One Call Stadium
MANSFIELD TOWN 1
Oli Hawkins 21
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
Attendance: 6,678 (935 Cobblers fans)
Mansfield: Nathan Bishop, Stephen McLaughlin, Elliott Hewitt, Oli Hawkins, Stephen Quinn (sub Farrend Rawson 90), Rhys Oates (sub Jordan Bowery 72), Ryan Stirk, George Lapslie, Lucas Akins, John-Joe O’Toole, Matty Longstaff (sub Kieran Wallace 90)
Subs not used: Marek Stech, George Maris, Danny Johnson, Jason Law
Cobblers: Liam Roberts, Aaron McGowan, Fraser Horsfall, Jon Guthrie, Joseph Mills (sub Danny Rose 81), Jack Sowerby, Paul Lewis, Mitch Pinnock, Sam Hoskins, Beryly Lubala (sub Josh Eppiah 60), Chanka Zimba (sub Louis Appere 71)
Subs not used: Jonny Maxted, Michael Harriman, Scott Pollock, Max Dyche
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Mansfield: Stephen McLaughlin (5), Elliott Hewitt (65), Ryan Stirk (85)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Cobblers: Paul Lewis (76)
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.
Chanka Zimba replaced Louis Appere up front in the only change made by Jon Brady for the trip to fellow promotion contenders Mansfield Town, who included former Cobbler John-Joe O’Toole in their starting eleven.
Mansfield, looking for a club record 11th consecutive home league win, started the afternoon 8th in the table, three points behind the Cobblers in third.
In an early half chance for the Cobblers, Fraser Horsfall, on the end of a Mitch Pinnock cross, had a header saved by Nathan Bishop.
As you’d perhaps expect it was a tight, tense affair but with just over twenty minutes played Mansfield made the breakthrough, Oli Hawkins heading home from a corner despite the best efforts of Liam Roberts.
Jack Sowerby shot wide as the Cobblers responded to falling behind and they were almost back on level terms when Pinnock’s first-time strike from Aaron McGowan's slide rule pass rattled the cross bar.
Matty Longstaff was denied by a terrific save from Roberts with half-time approaching, the Cobblers keeper getting a hand to the long-range strike from the on-loan Newcastle United midfielder which seemed destine for the top corner. Roberts then made another good stop to prevent Rhys Oates doubling the home side’s lead in first half stoppage time.
With an hour played and the Cobblers still a goal behind, Jon Brady decided to freshen up his attack, bringing on Josh Eppiah for Beryly Lubala. Appere then replaced Zimba with just under twenty minutes to play.
The Cobblers task was made even harder when Paul Lewis was sent off by referee Anthony Backhouse, who produced two yellow cards in quick succession after the Cobblers midfielder was penalised for a foul on George Lapslie and his subsequent reaction.
Roberts saved from Lucas Akins before Danny Rose came on against his former club in the Cobblers final change.
Rose headed straight at Bishop from a Pinnock free-kick and Horsfall appealed for a penalty after going down under a challenge from Hawkins as the Cobblers refused to give the game up despite their numerical disadvantage.
It was Mansfield though who claimed the three points as the promotion race became even tighter.
MANSFIELD MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 8
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 6
CORNERS: (7) 14
FOULS: (7) 14
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 4
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 4
CORNERS: (1) 3
FOULS: (5) 9
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 1