SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday February 22nd, 3.00pm
PTS Academy Stadium
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 2
Vadaine Oliver 1
Sam Hoskins 81 pen
EXETER CITY 0
Attendance: 5,046 (402 away supporters)
Cobblers: David Cornell, Charlie Goode, Lloyd Jones, Jordan Turnbull, Nicky Adams, Sam Hoskins, Chris Lines, Ryan Watson (sub Scott Pollock 56), Paul Anderson (sub Alan McCormack 81), Callum Morton, Vadaine Oliver (sub Michael Harriman 69)
Subs not used: Steve Arnold, Mark Marshall, Morgan Roberts, Matt Warburton
Exeter: Lewis Ward, Pierce Sweeney, Nigel Atangana, Aaron Martin, Randell Williams, Ryan Bowman, Nicky Ajose (sub Alex Fisher 75), Tom Parkes, Matt Jay (sub Nicky Law 60), Brennan Dickenson (sub Jayden Richardson 75), Archie Collins
Subs not used: Lee Martin, Jared Thompson, Dean Moxey, Jake Taylor
Referee: Martin Coy
Cobblers: Nicky Adams (90, 1st of the season)
Exeter: Pierce Sweeney (80)
10 cautions on or before 37 games; 2 match suspension
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.
Alan McCormack was named on the bench on his return from injury but Andy Williams and Scott Wharton were both sidelined for the visit of second in the table Exeter City. Vadaine Oliver and Chris Lines came into the Cobblers side with Jordan Turnbull moving to centre-back. Lewis Ward, who had a loan spell at the PTS Academy Stadium in 2018/19, started in goal for the Grecians who also included former Cobblers loanees Brennan Dickenson and Lee Martin in their matchday squad.
On another blustery afternoon the Cobblers got off to the perfect start and had the lead inside 60 seconds, Vadaine Oliver with a terrific strike into the top corner.
David Cornell saved a deflected Matt Jay effort as in-form Exeter responded with the Cobblers keeper also saving a header from the same player. Ryan Bowman then couldn’t convert a dangerous cross from Dickenson as Exeter pressed forward.
There was an unusual break in play when a sliding challenge between Callum Morton and Pierce Sweeney resulted in a broken corner flag that needed to be replaced.
Ryan Watson went agonisingly close to making it 2-0 but, after being fed in by Nicky Adams who had latched on to an excellent goal kick from David Cornell, his shot came back off the post with Ward getting a touch to divert the ball on to the frame of the goal.
Jordan Turnbull’s clearance almost lead to an own goal with half-time on the horizon but the subsequent corner was cleared by the Cobblers to ensure their lead remained intact.
Keith Curle was forced into a change after Ryan Watson failed to shake off an accidental whack to the face with Scott Pollock coming on. Hoskins had a shot deflected behind, Morton fired over and captain Charlie Goode also went close with a header in a good spell for the home side.
Ward saved from Lloyd Jones as the Cobblers continued to create chances and they deservedly doubled their lead from the penalty spot, Sam Hoskins sending Ward the wrong way after a rash challenge from Sweeney on Morton.
McCormack made his playing return in place of Paul Anderson for the final few minutes which the Cobblers saw out with relative ease. They could have even had another penalty when Adams appeared to be tripped in the area but it didn’t matter in terms of the result with a precious three points safely in the bank.
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 4
CORNERS: (1) 4
FOULS: (6) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 3
EXETER MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 2
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 4
CORNERS: (4) 5
FOULS: (5) 9
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 2
SCRATCH CARD GOAL TIMES: 00:54, 80:07