SKY BET LEAGUE 2
Saturday August 7th, 3.00pm
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 1
Benny Ashley-Seal 23
PORT VALE 0
Attendance: 5,804 (1,106 away fans)
Cobblers: Liam Roberts, Aaron McGowan, Joseph Mills, Fraser Horsfall, Jon Guthrie, Paul Lewis, Jordan Flores (sub Shaun McWilliams 69), Dylan Connolly (sub Ali Koiki 79), Mitch Pinnock, Nicke Kabamba, Benny Ashley-Seal (sub Danny Rose 53)
Subs not used: Jonny Maxted, Sid Nelson, Caleb Chukwuemeka, Kion Etete
Port Vale: Lucas Covolan, Dan Jones, Brad Walker (sub Alex Hurst 75), Nathan Smith, David Worrall, James Wilson (sub Jamie Proctor 75), Tom Conlon, Ryan Johnson (sub Aidan Stone 56), Aaron Martin, Devante Rodney, Tom Pett
Subs not used: Leon Legge, Ben Garrity, Mal Benning, Lewis Cass
Referee: Simon Mather
Cobblers: Jon Guthrie (71, 1st of the season), Aaron McGowan (74, 1st), Dylan Connolly (78, 1st), Danny Rose (78, 1st)
Port Vale: Ryan Johnson (27), Aaron Martin (81)
5 cautions on or before 19 games; 1 match suspension
10 cautions on or before 37 games; 2 match suspension
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Port Vale: Lucas Covolan (55)
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.
Fans were back in their numbers at Sixfields for the first time in nearly 18 months as Northampton Town kicked off the new Sky Bet League 2 season at home to Port Vale.
Jon Brady included eight of his twelve summer signings in the starting line-up with the other four new arrivals, including on-loan Spurs striker Kion Etete, named on the bench. Jack Sowerby (shoulder) was unavailable for selection with Sam Hoskins and Michael Harriman not quite match ready following a period of self-isolation.
There was a cacophony of noise inside Sixfields as the two sides took to the field with both sets of fans in fine voice as the game got under way.
Devante Rodney saw a header deflected behind and Mitch Pinnock made a good block to deny Tom Conlon in a period of Port Vale pressure which culminated in Brad Walker dragging a shot wide.
Nicke Kabamba volleyed over in the first sight at goal for the Cobblers who took the lead midway through the first half, Benny Ashley-Seal tucking the ball home from close range after Kabamba’s initial shot was blocked.
Pinnock made another important interception to block a goal-bound shot from Rodney and Liam Roberts saved comfortably from Tom Pett as Port Vale responded to falling behind, James Wilson spurning a good opportunity to equalise when he was found by Rodney inside the six-yard box.
Danny Rose came on for Ashley-Seal early in the second half, the Cobblers goalscorer receiving a good ovation from the fans as he left the field.
Port Vale were reduced to ten men with over half an hour still to play when Lucas Covolan was shown a straight red card following a clumsy challenge on Kabamba, the Valiants Brazilian goalkeeper robbed of possession by Kabamba before bringing down the Cobblers striker who had a clear run on goal. Needing to re-shuffle following the sending off, centre-back Ryan Johnson was replaced by substitute keeper Aidan Stone.
Jordan Flores made way for Shaun McWilliams in the Cobblers second change with Vale bringing on Jamie Proctor and Alex Hurst for the final fifteen minutes.
Ali Koiki replaced the booked Dylan Connolly in the Cobblers third change before McWilliams was denied by a tremendous save from Stone. The Cobblers then went agonisingly close to a second goal following a teasing ball into the box from Paul Lewis but no one was quite able to get onto the cross for what would have been a tap-in.
Six minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official but there were no late nervy moments as the Cobblers saw the game out to ensure a winning start to the campaign.
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 2
CORNERS: (0) 4
FOULS: (4) 11
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 5
PORT VALE MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 4
CORNERS: (2) 2
FOULS: (8) 16
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0
Golden Goal Peel and Reveal Times: 22:25