SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday May 7th, 3.00pm
The Dunes Hotel Stadium
Josh Kay 45
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 3
Sam Hoskins 5, 22
Fraser Horsfall 14
Attendance: 4,603 (575 Cobblers fans)
Barrow: Paul Farman, Connor Brown (sub James Jones 81), Matt Platt, Josh Kay, Josh Gordon, Robbie Gotts, Joe Grayson, Remeao Hutton (sub George Williams 70), Niall Canavan, John Rooney, Jordan Stevens (sub Anthony Glennon 32)
Subs not used: Josh Lillis, Jason Taylor, Tom White
Cobblers: Liam Roberts, Sam Hoskins, Fraser Horsfall, Jon Guthrie, Joseph Mills (sub Chanka Zimba 88), Ali Koiki, Jack Sowerby, Shaun McWilliams, Mitch Pinnock, Josh Eppiah (sub Danny Rose 62), Louis Appere (sub Idris Kanu 81)
Subs not used: Jonny Maxted, Max Dyche, Michael Harriman, Scott Pollock
Referee: Ross Joyce
Barrow: Josh Kay (45), Joe Grayson (80)
Cobblers: Sam Hoskins (49, 12th of the season), Danny Rose (77, 10th)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Cobblers: Liam Roberts (90)
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 went into the final game of the season knowing that a win away at Barrow could see them clinch automatic promotion and an immediate return to Sky Bet League 1.
With five teams still mathematically able to finish third going into the final day, a dramatic afternoon was in store for the Cobblers fans who were able to purchase an away ticket while back in Northampton over 1,600 supporters were watching on from the West Stand as the game was beamed back to Sixfields.
Jon Brady was forced into one change with Joseph Mills coming in for the injured Aaron McGowan while former Cobblers title-winner Jason Taylor was named on the bench for Barrow.
Louis Appere had a chance early on but in on goal couldn’t quite get his shot away. It wasn’t long though before the Cobblers did make the breakthrough, Sam Hoskins finding the bottom corner with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
Fraser Horsfall then made it 2-0 with less than a quarter of an hour played, heading home a perfectly delivered Mitch Pinnock corner at the back-post.
Hoskins bagged his second of the game midway through the first half, again finding the bottom corner having been played in by Josh Eppiah.
Liam Roberts saved a John Rooney header as Barrow looked to pull a goal back before it needed some good defending from Joe Grayson who made a last-ditch tackle to deny Eppiah a strike on goal.
Josh Kay did reduce the home sides arrears before half-time however, his header on 45 minutes ensuring the game was far from over.
Barrow appealed for a penalty at the start of the second half while Josh Gordon headed against the crossbar from a corner just after the hour-mark in some nervy moments for the Cobblers.
Danny Rose came on for Eppiah as news came in that Bristol Rovers were 4-0 up at home to Scunthorpe. Rovers started the afternoon level on points with the Cobblers but with an inferior goal difference of 5.
Jack Sowerby blocked a shot from Robbie Gotts before two more goals from Rovers meant they needed just one more to overtake the Cobblers on goals scored.
Idris Kanu replaced Appere for the last ten minutes before Gotts fired wide for the home side, the nerves now palpable amongst the Cobblers faithful.
News then came through Rovers had scored a seventh goal, meaning they moved above Jon Brady’s side with five minutes to play.
The Cobblers needed a goal and Rose headed wide while Hoskins, on a hat-trick, was denied by a terrific save from Paul Farman.
Roberts was sent off in stoppage time for handling the ball outside of the area, Rose going in goal for the final few moments. There was still time for the Cobblers but when Hoskins shot over the bar the game was almost up.
Despite their best efforts the Cobblers couldn’t find another goal and the Cobblers were in the play-offs, Brady’s side pipped to the top three by the narrowest of margins.
BARROW MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (4) 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 5
CORNERS: (3) 7
FOULS: (5) 8
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 1
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (6) 7
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (0) 1
CORNERS: (2) 2
FOULS: (5) 10
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 2