Northampton Town v Sheffield United
SKY BET LEAGUE 1
Saturday April 8th, 3.00pm
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
Marc Richards 45
SHEFFIELD UNITED 2
Leon Clarke 62
John Fleck 89
Attendance: 7,425 (1,456 away supporters)
Cobblers: Adam Smith, Brendan Moloney, David Buchanan, Zander Diamond, Lewin Nyatanga, Matt Taylor, Paul Anderson (sub Shaun McWilliams 70), John-Joe O’Toole, Luke Williams (sub Rod McDonald 81), Marc Richards, Michael Smith (sub Alex Revell 70)
Subs not used: Keshi Anderson, Aaron Phillips, Jak McCourt, David Cornell
Sheffield United: Simon Moore, John Fleck, Jack O’Connell, Chris Basham, Jake Wright, Paul Coutts, Kieron Freeman, Daniel Lafferty, Jay O’Shea (sub James Hanson 53), Leon Clarke (sub Ethan Ebanks-Landell 81), Samir Carruthers (sub Billy Sharp 46)
Subs not used: George Long, Matt Done, Mark Duffy, Harry Chapman
Referee: Mark Heywood
Sheffield United: Daniel Lafferty (23), John Fleck (79)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Sheffield United: none
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.
Brendan Moloney and Luke Williams replaced Aaron Phillips and Jak McCourt as boss Justin Edinburgh made two changes for the visit of Sheffield United. Moloney made his first league start since October while Alex Revell was named on the bench after recovering from a calf injury.
A year on from sealing promotion with the Cobblers, Chris Wilder and Alan Knill received a warm reception from the home fans before kick-off. The Blades went in to the game knowing a win would seal their own promotion to the Championship while results elsewhere could also see them elevated to England’s second tier.
As always the Sixfields surface looked immaculate as the game got underway in glorious sunshine. Sheffield United were denied by the woodwork on 7 minutes, Samir Carruthers' dipping half-volley coming back off the cross bar. Jay O’Shea pulled a shot just wide and Paul Coutts also went close as the Blades pushed for an early opening goal.
Marc Richards fired over from 10-yards before Zander Diamond made a vital interception to deny a clean through Leon Clarke. Simon Moore then made a good save to keep out a sweetly struck shot from Michael Smith while Adam Smith saved a John Fleck free-kick on the half hour mark.
The Cobblers took the lead in first half stoppage time, Marc Richards with a terrific strike in to the top corner having been played in by Smith.
Billy Sharp came on for Samir Carruthers in a half-time change for Sheffield United, with results elsewhere meaning Chris Wilder’s side were still on course for promotion.
Adam Smith kept the Cobblers in front with a point blank save to deny Daniel Lafferty before former Bradford striker James Hanson replaced Jay O’Shea.
Leon Clarke equalised for the Blades on 61 minutes, the Cobblers appealed for offside but no flag was forthcming and Clarke coolly slotted home. Clarke then saw a bullet header superbly saved by Smith with Wilder’s side looking to capitalise on a period of pressure.
Alex Revell and Shaun McWilliams came on in a double change for the Cobblers, Michael Smith and Paul Anderson making way. Rod McDonald replaced Luke Williams in Justin Edinburgh’s third and final change.
Sheffield United took the lead with the 90 minutes nearly up, Billy Sharp crossing for John Fleck to score from close range. Fleck’s late goal proved decisive and the Blades saw the game out to claim the three points and promotion.
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 7
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 4
CORNERS: (0) 4
FOULS: (6) 9
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 1
SHEFF UTD MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 8
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (3) 6
CORNERS: (0) 6
FOULS: (5) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0
The above stats are recorded by club staff. The stats shown elsewhere on this page are recorded by Opta