SKY BET LEAGUE 1
Saturday April 28th 2018
George Dobson 90
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
Attendance: 8,919 (1,993 Cobblers fans)
Walsall: Liam Roberts, Luke Leahy, George Dobson, Jon Guthrie, Nicky Devlin, Adam Chambers, Erhun Oztumer (sub Flo Cuvelier 90), Kieron Morris, Amadou Bakayoko, Jack Fitzwater, Kory Roberts
Subs not used: Mark Gillespie, Liam Kinsella, Reece Flanagan, Julien Ngoy, Maz Kouhyar, Mitch Candlin
Cobblers: Richard O’Donnell, Shay Facey, Leon Barnett, Ash Taylor, David Buchanan, Matt Crooks (sub Kevin van Veen 79), Shaun McWilliams (sub Chris Long 79), Matt Grimes, Daniel Powell, John-Joe O’Toole, Sam Hoskins
Subs not used: David Cornell, Jordan Turnbull, Jack Bridge, Sam Foley, Brendan Moloney
Referee: Mr Seb Stockbridge
Walsall: Erhun Oztumer (48)
Cobblers: Shaun McWilliams (45, 6th of the season), Leon Barnett (62, 3rd), John-Joe O'Toole (80, 8th)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
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.
Following two wins on the bounce, caretaker boss Dean Austin named an unchanged side for the crucial clash at the Banks’s Stadium. The Cobblers, backed by a 2,000 strong travelling support, went into the game two points behind Walsall.
In a lively start, Daniel Powell went agonisingly close to putting the Cobblers in front early on, his shot coming back off the inside of the post and into the grateful arms of Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts.
The game then became a little tense and nervy before a covering clearance from Kory Roberts denied Matt Crooks midway through the first half.
Jack Fitzwater’s goal bound effort was well blocked by Leon Barnett in a chance for Walsall but neither side could force the breakthrough as the first half ended goalless.
Shaun McWilliams fired over from the edge of the area following a quick Cobblers counter-attack and Sam Hoskins also went close in a bright start to the second half.
Erhun Oztumer found the side netting from an acute angle and Richard O’Donnell made a terrific save from Kieron Morris with the game still very much on a knife edge.
The Cobblers had the ball over the line from a Matt Grimes corner on 73 minutes only for the referee to rule the goal out for a push on Roberts. The woodwork then again came to Walsall’s rescue when a cross from Grimes came back off the post.
Kevin van Veen and Chris Long came on in an attacking double change before Oztumer curled a shot just wide and Nicky Devlin failed to find the target with a close range header.
Walsall took the lead and won the game with a goal in stoppage time, Amadou Bakayoko feeding in George Dobson who side-footed the ball past O’Donnell from close range to snatch all three points for the Saddlers.
Results elsewhere left the Cobblers three points adrift of safety and needing a massive goal difference swing against Oldham Athletic next weekend to stay in League 1.
WALSALL MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 6
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 9
CORNERS: (2) 3
FOULS: (5) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 4
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (4) 11
CORNERS: (3) 6
FOULS: (5) 12
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 1