SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Monday May 8th, 12.30pm
TRANMERE ROVERS 0
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
Sam Hoskins 5
Attendance: 8,225 (2,200 Cobblers fans)
Tranmere: Mateusz Hewelt, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Ethan Bristow, Lee O’Connor (sub Jake Burton 67), Tom Davies, Kane Hemmings, Josh Hawkes, Jordan Turnbull (sub Joel Mumbongo 89), Rhys Hughes (sub Jay Turner-Cooke 46), Regan Hendry, Sam Taylor
Subs not used: Joe Murphy, Kyle Jameson, Logan Chalmers, Flo Hoti
Cobblers: Lee Burge, Harvey Lintott, Max Dyche, Sam Sherring, Ryan Haynes (sub Paul Osew 38), Marc Leonard, Shaun McWilliams (sub Will Hondermarck 75), Sam Hoskins, Mitch Pinnock, Louis Appere (sub David Norman 86), Kieron Bowie (sub Danny Hylton 86)
Subs not used: Tom King, Josh Eppiah, Tete Yengi
Referee: Craig Hicks
Tranmere: Tom Davies (71)
Northampton Town travelled to Tranmere Rovers on the final day of the 2022/23 season knowing a win at Prenton Park would secure automatic promotion. A draw or a defeat however, coupled with a win for Stockport County at home to already relegated Hartlepool, would see the Cobblers drop into the play-off places.
Harvey Lintott replaced Will Hondermarck in the only change to the starting line-up made by Jon Brady while the Tranmere side included former Town defender Jordan Turnbull.
Backed by 2,200 travelling fans the shoe army were in fine voice in the build-up to kick-off which was preceded by the playing of the National Anthem to mark the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.
Five minutes in and it was a dream start for the Cobblers and player of the season Sam Hoskins who opened the scoring with a terrific volley from the edge of the area. The goal came from a corner with Hoskins chesting the ball down before unleashing an unstoppable strike that gave the Rovers keeper no chance.
Town defended a trio of Tranmere corners as the first half neared the midway point and Lee Burge did well to tip away a cross/shot from Lee O’Connor as the home side pressed for an equaliser. Meanwhile at Stockport there was news of a disallowed goal for former Cobblers defender Fraser Horsfall.
Hoskins volleyed wide and Kieron Bowie almost capitalised on a slack back pass as the Cobblers looked for a second goal but in a season plagued by injuries Jon Brady was dealt another blow when Ryan Haynes was unable to continue after falling awkwardly, Paul Osew coming on for the final few minutes of the first half.
Stockport had taken the lead against Hartlepool through a Callum Camps penalty but at half-time the Cobblers were still ahead thanks to Sam Hoskins' stunning early goal.
O’Connor headed wide and Sam Sherring made an important block to deny Josh Hawkes in a frenetic start to the second half by Tranmere who were enjoying a period of pressure.
With just over an hour played news filtered through to the Cobblers fans that Hartlepool had equalised at Stockport and things would have gotten even better for the Cobblers if anyone had been able to get a touch to Harvey Lintott’s fizzed ball across the six-yard box. Louis Appere then went agonisingly close with a shot that was deflected behind by O’Connor.
Lee Burge made a good save to turn behind a drilled shot from Sam Taylor before Will Hondermarck came on for Shaun McWilliams.
Josh Dacres-Cogley made a vital interception to deny Appere with Max Dyche heading just wide from the subsequent corner as the Cobblers went close to a second but Tranmere were still posing a threat and Taylor was a whisker away from turning home a low cross.
Danny Hylton and David Norman came on in a double change for Appere and Bowie but with the Cobblers game still in stoppage time it was full-time at Stockport, who missed a penalty in the last seconds to be held to a draw by Hartlepool. That result meant whatever the result at Tranmere the Cobblers were up but as had become typical of the Cobblers under Jon Brady they made sure themselves that the job was done, winning 1-0 and securing a return to League 1, a promotion thoroughly deserved.
TRANMERE MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 3
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (0) 4
CORNERS: (4) 8
FOULS: (5) 8
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 3
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 6
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (4) 8
CORNERS: (4) 8
FOULS: (2) 4
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0