Tuesday January 8th, 7.45pm
PTS Academy Stadium
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
Matt Crooks 76
BRISTOL ROVERS 2
Tom Broadbent 45
Stefan Payne 58
Attendance: 1,312 (97 away supporters)
Cobblers: Cobblers: David Cornell, Shay Facey, Jay Williams, Ash Taylor (sub Aaron Pierre 71), Jordan Turnbull, David Buchanan (sub Daniel Powell 60), Sam Foley, Matt Crooks, Dean Bowditch (sub Jack Bridge 53), Sam Hoskins, Junior Morias
Subs not used: Luke Coddington, Hakeem Odoffin, Billy Waters, Morgan Roberts
Bristol Rovers: Jack Bonham, Tom Lockyer, Ed Upson, Liam Sercombe (sub Tom Nichols 75), Chris Lines, Stefan Payne (sub Gavin Reilly 83), Tom Broadbent, Joe Partington, Sam Matthews, Michael Kelly, Alex Rodman (sub Daniel Leadbitter 73)
Subs not used: James Clarke, Adam Smith, Rollin Menayese, Luke Russe
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Cobblers: Matt Crooks (45), Sam Foley (90)
Bristol Rovers: Tom Nichols (90)
Bristol Rovers: none
League One side Bristol Rovers came to the PTS Academy Stadium as the Checkatrade Trophy reached the area quarter-final stage. Academy graduate Jay Williams, fresh from signing his first professional contract, kept his place in the side but new loan signing George Cox was cup-tied. Goalkeeper Adam Smith, a League 2 title winner with the Cobblers in 2016, was on the Rovers bench.
The first chance of the night fell to the away side, David Cornell out quickly to save from Stefan Payne. It was proving to be an even contest and a header from Ash Taylor was parried by Jack Bonham with the off-side flag then raised. Sam Hoskins then went close with an overhead kick while a cross from Matt Crooks found Bowditch inside the area but a combination of Bonham and Ed Upson kept the ball out.
With the game starting to open up Alex Rodman saw a header saved by Cornell and Shay Facey made an important block to deny Liam Sercombe.
Although the Cobblers had enjoyed the better of the half, Rovers made the breakthrough as the first forty five drew to a close, Tom Broadbent side-footing the ball home from close range. Moments before half-time Alex Rodman couldn't keep his header down from a Chris Lines free-kick.
Stefan Payne doubled Rovers lead on 58 minutes, capitalising on a loose defensive header before firing the ball past Cornell. Bonham saved from Crooks as the Cobblers looked to mount a fightback, the Rovers keeper then alert to the danger as Daniel Powell broke free into the penalty area. Crooks and Powell then combined but the latter’s drilled effort went agonisingly across the face of goal.
Aaron Pierre came on in the Cobblers third and final change, Taylor the man replaced.
The Cobblers were back in it with just under fifteen minutes to play, Matt Crooks with a superb strike from 25-yards. Keith Curle’s side had Rovers on the back foot, Jack Bridge going close with a deflected effort and Sam Foley seeing a shot cleared off the line.
Five minutes of stoppage time was signalled by the fourth official and Rovers held on despite some nervy moments to progress through to the area semi-finals.
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 8
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 4
CORNERS: (2) 7
FOULS: (4) 12
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 3
BRISTOL ROVERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (4) 6
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 5
CORNERS: (2) 3
FOULS: (8) 12
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 2