Northampton Town v Cheltenham Town
NPOWER LEAGUE 2, PLAY OFF SEMI FINAL
Thursday May 2nd
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
Roy O'Donovan 26
CHELTENHAM TOWN 0
Attendance: 6,563 (653 away fans)
Cobblers: Lee Nicholls, Ben Tozer, Clarke Carlisle, Nathan Cameron, Lee Collins, Chris Hackett, Luke Guttridge, Ben Harding, Ishmel Demontagnac (sub John Johnson 76), Roy O’Donovan, Adebayo Akinfenwa
Subs not used: Dean Snedker, Clive Platt, Jake Robinson, Louis Moult, Lewis Hornby, Kelvin Langmead
Cheltenham: Scott Brown, Keith Lowe, Steve Elliott, Marlon Pack, Jermaine McGlashan (sub Sam Deering 90), Russell Penn, Paul Benson, Sido Jombati, Kaid Mohamed, Michael Hector (sub Billy Jones 53), Byron Harrison (sub Jason Taylor 71)
Subs not used: Darren Carter, Darryl Duffy, Connor Roberts, Shaun Harrad
Referee: Mr M Russell
Cobblers: Chris Hackett (58, 7th of the season), Ishmel Demontagnac (63, 10th)
Cheltenham: Steve Elliott (69), Jermaine McGlashan (76)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Sending offs: 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.
Adebayo Akinfenwa, Chris Hackett and Ishmel Demontagnac all came back into the side but the Cobblers were still without left-back Joe Widdowson. Kelvin Langmead and Clive Platt were named on the bench.
The game kicked off in a high octane atmosphere with Akinfenwa forcing an early corner. Hackett then curled a free-kick wide as the game reached the 10-minute mark.
Another shot from Akinfenwa was deflected behind with his header from the subsequent corner saved by Scott Brown with strong shouts for handball going unheeded.
The Cobblers took the lead on 26 minutes, Roy O’Donovan with a sweet volleyed finish after a terrific cross from Hackett.
Cheltenham were then quickly on the attack, Paul Benson going wide when well-placed in front of goal. From a Keith Lowe long throw into the box on 35 minutes, Kaid Mohamed sliced a shot wide. Lee Nicholls then did well to punch away a fiercely driven free-kick from Mohamed.
A superbly timed challenge from Clarke Carlisle denied Jermaine McGlashan before Nicholls saved a header from Benson.
Nicholls tipped over a shot from McGlashan at the start of the second half. Cheltenham were then forced into making a change after Michael Hector picked up an injury, Billy Jones the player to come on in his place.
A shot from Marlon Pack was well gathered in by Nicholls while another chance for the Robins saw Benson head wide.
Hackett crossed for Akinfenwa who’s header was well kept out by Brown. The Robins then made their second change with Jason Taylor replacing Byron Harrison. Akinfenwa then headed over under pressure from Keith Lowe.
John Johnson came on for Demontagnac with Ben Tozer moving into midfield. Cheltenham were then forced to clear the ball off the line as the Cobblers pressed hard for a second goal.
A free-kick from Jones on 86 minutes was straight at Nicholls in the final chance of this first leg.
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (6) 9
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 8
CORNERS: (3) 3
FOULS: (6) 9
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0
CHELTENHAM MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (4) 6
CORNERS: (3) 7
FOULS: (6) 10
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 2
The above stats are recorded by club staff. The stats shown elsewhere on this page are recorded by the Press Association.