STAGS EARN IMPORTANT POINT AFTER PEN & RED CARD
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Northampton Town 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Carter pen 64. Palmer 32
Attendance: 5,129 (744 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 March 2014
Martin Shaw at Sixfields
Mansfield Town worked hard for an important point at Sixfields this afternoon having to play the last half hour with only ten men after Darryl Westlake was harshly sent off for handball in the area in conceding a penalty, which was converted to equalise for Northampton. The ball probably did hit Westlake’s hand as a cross came in and I can understand a penalty being given, but the red card looked extremely harsh. The Stags had gone in front in the first half when man of the match Ollie Palmer showed great strength to muscle his way past the last defender and fire under the keeper from close range. A draw was probably a fair result in the end as the Stags defended bravely yet did not sit too deeply and both sides had chances to win the game. The Stags therefore kept up the remarkable record of not having lost away to a team outside the top 7 this season. The point was important for the Stags as it keeps Northampton 5 points behind with one game in hand. I still think 52 or 53 points will be enough for a side to stay up, so the Stags need to concentrate on their own points tally and get 9 or 10 points from the final 9 games to ensure staying up.
The Stags were roared on by a magnificent travelling support of 744, who supported the team throughout.
Paul and Tina Broughton told me before the game that in the region of 950 season tickets had been sold in the early bird offer, which was a great effort by the fans, given the short timeframe upon which it was imposed.
Paul Cox made three changes from the side that undeservedly lost to York: Sam Clucas was taken ill during the morning with sickness and diarrhoea, while McGuire and Meikle dropped to the bench, to be replaced by Palmer, Howell and Stevenson. Northampton included Emile Sinclair in their starting XI, while Cristian Lopez was on the bench having signed the previous afternoon. Both were targets of Paul Cox in January. Chris Wilder talked in his midweek press conference about Mansfield’s current plight saying: “When you have a good start like (Mansfield did) that and then results don’t start going for you, then a little bit of anxiety starts to creep in. That happened to me when I was at Oxford and it was our first season back in the league, we had a bit of a dip around Christmas time and we had to sign some more experienced players.” A reference to the fact that Cox was not allowed to strengthen his squad in January or subsequently, as Wilder had done at Oxford a few years ago, and Wilder had then done again upon joining Northampton this season. Cox’s frustration could only be increased by his two targets joining today’s opponents. Before the game Sinclair picked up Northampton Player of the Month award, having played a major part in turning their season on its head. The news on Friday that One Call were putting a six figure sum into sponsorship of Doncaster Rovers was perplexing on the face of it given Mansfield’s plight and clear need for strengthening.
Stagsnet report here
Saturday, 15th March 2014: Northampton Town 1, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
A controversial red card for Darryl Westlake and subsequent penalty equaliser midway through the second half left Mansfield Town having to settle for a share of the spoils as their big relegation six-pointer at Northampton Town ended 1-1 this afternoon.
Stags, missing top scorer Sam Clucas through illness, will feel they should have won it, but at least avoiding defeat maintained the five point gap between the sides.
In a tense, exciting game, Ollie Palmer’s 32nd minute goal had put Mansfield into the driving seat.
But referee Andy Haines decided Westlake had deliberately handled a goalbound Alan Connell header and Darren Carter levelled from the spot for the in-form home side, who are now six unbeaten.
Chris Hackett could have broken Mansfield hearts and been the home hero near the end but blazed a golden volleyed chance over the bar.
Mansfield Thad suffered a morning blow when top scorer Clucas was ruled out with illness.
Lindon Meikle and Jamie McGuire were dropped to the bench and in came Lee Stevenson, Anthony Howell and Ollie Palmer.
Stags almost went behind with just over a minute on the watch as Connell curled a high through ball towards Dickenson.
Stags looked for an offside flag that wasn’t forthcoming and he was through one-on-one with Marriott
However, the keeper did well to get his body in the way and Dempster was then able to head the loose ball away from in front of goal and Stags had survived.
The home side then cleared Jennings’ first corner.
Sinclair got in on the action for the first time as he held the ball up well under severe pressure from behind by Riley and fed Hackett for a sliced shot wide of the near post on the right.
Kouo-Doumbe then did well to win the ball before Palmer could get in a shot in the box after Ravenhill had accidentally flicked on Dempster’s forward ball towards the striker in a promising position.
Connell swapped passes with Hackett and Westlake did well to nip in and prod the ball off him for a goalkick before he could cause any damage at the far post.
On 12 minutes Stags almost sneaked ahead from a second Jennings corner from the right. Northampton failed to clear it first time and Palmer was able to direct a header towards the top corner which Robertson managed to head off the line.
Thirty seconds later Stevenson wasted a good chance after being picked out by a superb pass from Westlake in from the right which found him in space just inside the box but unable to direct his finish on target.
On 15 minutes Rhead’s flick found Stevenson near the penalty spot and he quickly fed Palmer whose finish, under pressure, was tame and straight to Duke.
A quickly-taken free kick saw Sinclair earn the home side their first corner on 17 minutes, which was blocked at the near post as carter’s kick swung in dangerously low.
On 20 minutes Stevenson was penalised for climbing all over Hackett 20 yards from goal in a central position.
Hackett took responsibility for the free kick himself and drilled it through the wall at Marriott who did well to cling onto the ball and not offer any follow-ups.
An offside flag pulled up Stevenson as he looked set to race clear onto a Howell through ball as the action swung to the other end of the field.
But the visitors were a goal to the good on 32 minutes. A Murray through ball towards Palmer looked set to be cut out by Kouo-Doumbe. But the defender allowed palmer to get goalside of him and Palmer calmly slotted a low finish under Duke from eight yards.
Soon after Stags keeper Marriott was warned for timewasting at a goalkick.
Then a mix-up saw Marriott advance to collect the ball and Tafazolli stoop to try to head it back to him, only to send it past his own keeper and narrowly wide for a corner.
Taken short, the ball was eventually pumped in from the by-line and Marriott caught it safely.
Soon after Marriott had a rush of blood as he raced out his box to reach a ball he was never likely to beat Hackett to and was lucky the Cobblers man’s control let him down and the ball went into touch.
On 42 minutes Dickens went past Riley 25 yards from goal and was brought down. It produced a yellow card for him but was never going to be the red card the home fans were hoping for.
Carter fired the eventual free kick into the wall and Ravenhill flashed the follow-up over the bar.
Three minutes were added on during which a home break saw Sinclair set up Hackett for a shot that Jennings threw himself in the way of.
That produced a corner which Kouo-Doumbe met with a powerful near post header that flew over as the visitors went in with a narrow but crucial advantage.
The home side emerged early from the interval, hungry to get back on with it.
Within 20 seconds of the whistle the Cobblers had forced a left wing corner, taken by Hackett, which Westlake hooked clear.
Marriott was given a second warning about taking too long over a goalkick a few minutes later.
Marriott then beat Sinclair to a Connell through ball before Stags relieved the pressure with a couple of corners.
The home side made a change on 50 minutes with Morris on for Dickenson.
Mansfield cleared another home corner, then on 54 minutes, the ball deflected off the referee on the edge of the box, inviting Connell into a rising shot that was only inches over to the official’s relief.
Palmer incurred the wrath of the home fans when he twice rolled around after going down under challenges in a short space of time.
The second won a free kick that Jennings whipped in and it deflected up and over off a defender for a corner.
The home side struggled to clear it after Duke failed to claim it first time and some head tennis saw it away for a second corner which came to nothing for Mansfield.
Duke then did superbly well to punch away a perfect Palmer cross almost off the head of Rhead.
On 61 minutes Stags let Morris roam 25 yards from goal and he was able to get away a powerful dipping shot that Marriott did well to tip over.
But the game took a major twist on 63 minutes.
A right wing corner for the home side reached Connell who headed firmly towards goal immediately called for a handball against Westlake.
The referee agreed and pointed to the spot, adding a further shock of a red card instead of a yellow for Westlake.
Although Marriott guessed the direction of the penalty correctly, the pace of Carter’s kick was perfect and he found the bottom right hand corner on 64 minutes.
From being in complete control, suddenly 10-men Mansfield faced a long 25 minutes.
Cox shuffled his pack on 68 minutes and sent on Daniel and Meikle for Palmer and Stevenson in a double change.
Rhead brought down Diamond on 70 minutes to earn a yellow card.
The Cobblers began to search for a winner and Diamond was too high with a header from a right wing corner.
Daniel then won Stags a corner of their own which Northampton laboured to clear. Eventually Jennings flicked a header to Howell to the left of goal and his low shot rattled the sidenetting with some Stags thinking it had found the net.
It was a temporary respite as back roared Northampton with corner number eight, which was punched away by Marriott.
Stags broke quickly and Meikle sent the ball into the home half with Daniel in hot pursuit and no defender in sight.
However, Duke raced out to win a crucial race and blasted the ball clear 20 yards outside his box.
Jennings was well over from distance as the home fans grew increasingly frustrated at their side’s lack of a killer blow for the 10 men.
The home side broke from a Mansfield corner on 86 minutes and really should have settled it.
Breaking three on three Morris timed his pass to Connell on the left to perfection and his cross set up a perfect volleyed chance for Hackett in space at the far post where he smashed his finish over the bar with Marriott at his mercy.
Dyer took over from Rhead as the lone Stags striker for the final four minutes of the 90.
Five minutes were added on and in the second of those Riley conceded a free kick just outside the box which saw Dempster head Carter’s kick away as the game ended all square.
NORTHAMPTON: Duke, McSweeney, Carter, Sinclair, Hackett (Lopez 88), Connell, Diamond, Kouo-Doumbe, Robertson, Ravenhill, Dickenson (Morris 50). Subs not used: Tozer, Snedker, Deegan, Moyo, Toney.?STAGS: Marriott; Tafazolli, Dempster, Riley; Westlake, Murray, Stevenson (Meikle 68), Howell, Jennings; Rhead (Dyer 86), Palmer (Daniel 68). Subs not used: Briscoe, Beevers, McGuire, Cain.?REFEREE: Andy Haines of Tyne & Wear.
ATTENDANCE: 5,129 (744 away).?CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Northampton Town 1 Mansfield Town 1 - Cobblers unbeaten in six as Carter earns point
Written by JAMES AVERILL
Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Sport/Cobblers/Football-Northampton-Town-1-Mansfield-Town-1-Cobblers-unbeaten-in-six-as-Carter-earns-point-20140315191153.htm?#ixzz2w4p901rV
Northampton Town came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town today - but missed the opportunity to make up further ground on their relegation rivals after the away side were reduced to ten men.
Ollie Palmer had given Mansfield a first-half lead, but Darren Carter equalised from the penalty spot in the second half after Darryl Westlake had been sent off for a deliberate handball on the goal line.
Cobblers are now just two points off League Two safety after results went their way, and the draw added to an unbeaten run of six matches.
Alan Connell was drafted back into the starting-line up with John Marquis returning to parent club Millwall. Marquis’ replacement Cristian Lopez was named amongst the substitutes, the former Real Madrid B striker had only signed on loan from Huddersfield Town yesterday afternoon.
There was also a return for captain Ricky Ravenhill, who had served a one match suspension for his sending off against Scunthorpe last week. Gary Deegan dropped down to the bench.
And in such a crucial match in this relegation roller-coaster, the home side should have scored in the opening seconds.
Connell’s teasing through ball over the top found Brennan Dickenson who raced clear, but he couldn’t beat Alan Marriott one-on-one. It was a golden chance that should have been converted.
In a frenzied start Chris Hackett had the next effort for the Cobblers, but he shot well wide when a cross would perhaps have been a better option.
It had been a bright start from the home side, but Mansfield responded with some good chances of their own.
Ryan Tafazolli leapt highest to meet James Jennings’ corner, but his looping header was cleared off the line by Hackett.
And seconds later the Cobblers defence left Lee Stevenson completely unmarked in the box. The midfielder was thankfully unaware of how much time he had to get his effort away, and he fluffed the opportunity.
All this had taken place in the opening 11 minutes.
After that the game died down into a quieter affair, the Cobblers playing some patient football on the deck and occasionally breaking with pace, while Mansfield adopted a more direct approach up to their big front two of Matt Rhead and Palmer.
Mathias Doumbe had scored an infamous own goal on his Town debut away at Mansfield earlier this campaign, an effort he bagged from all of 30 yards. In recent games Doumbe has been bagging goals at the right end, but there was a sharp intake of breath when his attempted clearance hit his chin, but the comical clearance went wide to avoid a repeat episode.
But just past the half-hour mark Paul Cox’s men broke the deadlock.
Adam Murray hooked another long ball down the line, and Palmer managed to outmuscle Leon McSweeney and tuck the ball under Matt Duke.
It was a calm finish from the forward, the response of the away fans was anything but as they went into raptures.
It was harsh on the Cobblers, who had edged proceedings up until that point, but there had been some questionable defending as well at times, and it was dutifully punished by the Stags.
The Cobblers pushed hard for an equaliser before the break, their best chance coming when Martin Riley brought down Dickenson as he burst through.
The home crowd shouted for a red card, but referee Andy Haines called it right that he wasn’t the last man, brandishing a yellow.
Carter’s free-kick struck the wall, but Ravenhill picked up the rebound and hammered his shot just over.
They came close just after the break as well, when a handy, if inadvertent, set-up by the referee put Connell in a good position outside the box. His driven effort clipped the roof of the net.
The Stags, who were five points clear of Northampton, always looked a threat from set pieces, and they came close a number of times through their aerial presence, with the Cobblers trying everything to clear the ball.
But then on 63 minutes the path of the match was well and truly altered. The ball was launched into the box, a Cobblers head won the cross. As it sailed into the top corner Westlake was adjudged to have handled on the line.
Andy Haines pointed to the spot immediately, and was equally as quick in producing the red card to the full-back.
Carter expertly tucked away the penalty, despite Marriott guessing the right way, and suddenly the ball was in the Cobblers court to hunt down three points.
But the Stags had proven up until that point that they were a stubborn side, and breaking them down a further time would not prove an easy task.
And if anything they were the better side after. Woeful miscommunication between Ravenhill and McSweeney allowed Colin Daniel to nip in behind them. Mercifully Duke raced off his line and won the chase to the ball.
Anthony Howell also went close for the visitors, his effort that went into the side netting sparked mistaken celebrations from sections of the away support.
But Wilder’s men nearly made the extra man count on the counter attack, and when Connell crossed to the far post Hackett was given a big chance to score with the goal at his mercy, but his first time volley almost cleared the North Stand.
Lopez was introduced with just three minutes left, but the fabled last chance never materialised for the men in claret, and they were left to rue on a missed opportunity to gain further ground.
Northampton Town: Matt Duke, Leon McSweeney, Zander Diamond, Mathias Doumbe, Gregor Robertson, Chris Hackett (Cristian Lopez, 87), Ricky Ravenhill, Darren Carter, Brennan Dickenson (Ian Morris, 50), Alan Connell, Emile Sinclair.
Substitutes: Dean Snedker, Gary Deegan, Ben Tozer, Ivan Toney, David Moyo.
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Martin Riley, John Dempster, Ryan Tafazolli, Darryl Westlake, James Jennings, Adam Murray (c), Anthony Howell, Lee Stevenson (Lindon Meikle, 67), Matt Rhead (Ross Dyer, 85), Oliver Palmer (Colin Daniel, 67).
Substitutes: Jamie McGuire, Lee Beevers, Michael Cain, Louis Briscoe.
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 5,129 (744 away)
Carter penalty salvages point for Cobblers
by Jefferson Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darren Carter scored a second-half penalty to secure a draw for the Cobblers against a Mansfield side that played for half an hour with 10 men.
Town did not take advantage of the extra man and settled for a 1-1 stalemate that extends their unbeaten run to six games.
It will, however, go down as an opportunity missed, even if fellow strugglers Accrington, Wycombe, Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers were all beaten.
Exeter City, to whom the gap is now two points, play Newport County on Sunday.
Town were in behind Mansfield’s defence within two minutes of the game starting, Alan Connell spraying a pass for Brennan Dickenson to race onto and fire a left-footed effort straight at the advancing Alan Marriott.
The rebound fell straight to the winger but on his weaker right foot his effort was blocked by the covering defender with some ease.
Mansfield, though, had their chances - Chris Hackett had to be in the right place to head an effort from close to the goal line and Lee Stevenson should have done better with a blocked shot after finding space in the box.
And they took the lead on 32 minutes, Matt Rhead playing strike partner Oliver Palmer in behind the home defence.
Matt Duke stayed on his line, Mathias Doumbe hesitated and Palmer sidefooted the ball under the goalkeeper to put the Stags in front.
Town’s response was a muted one but they almost gained an advantage in the game when Martin Riley fouled Dickenson on the edge of the box at the end of a counter-attack.
The home crowd, predictably, wanted a red card for Riley but there was a covering player and the defender was booked, with Darren Carter hitting the free-kick into the defensive wall and Ricky Ravenhill thrashing the rebound over the bar.
Hackett saw an effort deflected wide after Carter had expertly threaded in Dickenson down the left and Emile Sinclair had held up play in the box.
Ian Morris was a lively introduction minutes after the interval and drew a good save from Marriott with a right-footed shot on the edge of the area.
Then came the controversy. A Hackett cross into the box was met at the back post by Connell but he was denied clean contact on the ball by Westlake, who punched the ball away.
Referee Andy Haines spotted it and awarded a penalty, sending right wing-back Westlake off in the process.
Although Marriott went the right way, Carter’s spot-kick had enough power on it to beat the goalkeeper and draw Northampton level.
Town’s best chance to win it came at the end of a Morris-led counter-attack, when Connell flighted a cross for Hackett to volley over at the back post.
But they did not have a long period of pressure at any point and did not create any other good chances.
Cobblers: Duke, McSweeney, Doumbe, Diamond, Robertson, Hackett, Ravenhill, Carter, Dickenson, Connell, Sinclair
Subs: Morris (for Dickenson 50), Lopez (for Hackett 88)
Not used: Snedker, Deegan, Tozer, Toney, Moyo
Mansfield: Marriott, Riley, Dempster, Tafazolli, Westlake, Howell, Murray, Stevenson, Jennings, Rhead, Palmer
Subs: Daniel (for Palmer 68), Meikle (for Stevenson 68), Dyer (for Rhead 85)
Not used: Briscoe, Beevers, McGuire, Cain
Away fans: 744
Jefferson Lake’s Northampton Town v Mansfield Town view and player ratings
The Cobblers are now unbeaten in six league games for the first time in more than three years but Saturday’s failure to beat Mansfield represents a huge lost opportunity.
Not since Ben Tozer’s goal secured a 1-1 draw with Aldershot at Sixfields in February 2011 has the club managed to go half a dozen league fixtures without being beaten.
On that day, they held on despite Shaun Harrad’s sending-off; yesterday it was the Stags who salvaged a point despite being short-handed.
A win would have put Northampton level on points with Exeter and, perhaps more importantly, would have deprived Mansfield of anything at all.
But that would have been more than Chris Wilder’s side deserved for this performance, in which they defended well enough against the opponents’ physical style but did not do enough to break them down.
They had a slow start and it appeared the only way they would get into the game would be through a moment of magic or a disastrous error - it was the latter, as it turned out.
Mansfield manager Paul Cox made some Football Association-baiting remarks after the game about the referee but will probably want to retract them when he sees a replay of Darryl Westlake’s punching away of the ball right before it made contact with Alan Connell’s forehead.
It provided Darren Carter with the chance to restore parity from the penalty spot, which he did with aplomb, but also gave Northampton what should have been their route to victory.
They should have created far more in the way of attacking play and goalscoring chances than they did, especially with the man advantage.
So why didn’t they?
One reason was that Mansfield defended very well; they were well organised right across the pitch and had plenty of strength and solidity about them, especially in defence.
With Connell playing as a withdrawn striker, it meant Emile Sinclair was often being marked by three centre-backs. He didn’t have a great game anyway but the odds were stacked against him.
Neither striker is a natural header of the ball and so when the central route was closed off, and the team went wide and crossed, the visiting defence dealt with it fairly easily.
There must be internal concerns about the lack of goals from the centre-forwards. Zander Diamond and Mathias Doumbe aren’t going to head in corners every week.
Connell has not scored for the club; Sinclair has no goals other than the admittedly excellent brace he bagged at Torquay a month ago. Cristian Lopez is a totally unknown quantity; David Moyo and Ivan Toney are absolute beginners.
John Marquis, who was recalled by parent club Millwall on Thursday, was badly missed against Mansfield.
This has been a pretty decent week and it’s important to note that, as frustrating as the performance in this game and the one at Exeter were, they can hardly be compared to the crisis form of earlier in the season because the side is still collecting points.
But it would have been nice to have rounded it off with a win and the team’s failure to do so means serious concerns remain - especially up front.
Stayed on his line for the goal when he perhaps should have left it to close the angle and put pressure on Palmer ...6
Completed his defensive duties well and managed to get forward on the overlap several times ...6
Typically robust against the agricultural qualities of Rhead and was in no way to blame for the Stags goal ...7
Hesitated to clear the ball in behind him which Palmer latched onto and put away for the goal; not up to his recent high standard ...6
No problems at all with the defensive basics and got forward several times, although on one or two occasions he chose the wrong option ...6
Another one not as good as his recent form - crosses were often drilled low or overhit and he needed a cool head to convert Town’s best second-half chance ...6
Northampton’s best player on the afternoon - his performance was not without its faults (set-piece delivery could have been better, for example) but he tackled well and drove the team forward in possession ...7 STAR MAN
Battled hard in the midfield where it often became little more than a war of attrition. Will be generally pleased with the way he played ...6
Perhaps a little unfortunate to come off as he’d had a good chance well saved and had been an outlet with his speed out wide but Morris did well in the position too ...6
Not a good day at the office for the striker whose powerful running all seemed to be in areas that did not hurt Mansfield. One to forget ...5
Saw lots of the ball in the number 10 position but struggled to do much with it against a deep-lying and well-organised Mansfield defence ...6
IAN MORRIS (for Dickenson, 50mins)
Improved the side and got into good areas but there was rarely anyone attacking his crosses with any real venom ...7
CRISTIAN LOPEZ (for Hackett, 88mins)
Did okay with the couple of touches that he had but no time to make an impression
Not used: Snedker, Deegan, Tozer, Toney, Moyo
Gripped by the Cobblers: The Tom Reed column - Irritated by Mansfield
Written by TOM REED
Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Sport/Cobblers/Gripped-by-the-Cobblers-The-Tom-Reed-column-Irritated-by-Mansfield-and-abject-against-Rochdale-20140319103653.htm?#ixzz2wQiOXyNa
A Cobblers fan asked for advice on an internet forum before the Mansfield match on taking two American teenagers along.
He needn’t have briefed the U.S youngsters on jargon such as the “long ball game” or doing a “job” on the opposition as they’d have had their fill watching Paul Cox’s Stags.
Indeed, the Nottinghamshire side came to Sixfields with a toe-curlingly frustrating game-plan which was all the more irritating because it worked.
Cox will say that he set out for a win but, given his players played for time after five minutes, one assumes that a draw was a favourable result for the away team.
Mansfield striker Ollie Palmer calls himself Lord on Twitter but the nearest he got to being a landed gentleman was sniffing the Sixfields pitch after repeated theatrical responses to workaday challenges.
The tetchy home support booed the Stags for their gamesmanship and the Northampton fans’ mood worsened on thirty-two minutes when Palmer was given a free route on goal.
The one thing that Palmer has is strength and the gangly forward was able to ease Mathias Doumbe off of a hit-and-hope Adam Murray ball before slotting past Matt Duke.
Frenchman Doumbe had veered round the box like a drunken wasp while Duke was back to the old routine of going down like an old, exhausted, greyhound.
No doubt about it, the Cobblers were “Boothroyded” with Mansfield continually looking for the ball over the top to Palmer and Rhead.
Yet the Stags forward pair dug in up front and showed the best of limited abilities with their hold-up play.
The Cobblers, conversely, could not make first-time balls stick, as Emile Sinclair had an off-day and Northampton were too keen to force an equaliser in this relegation clash.
Yet on sixty-four minutes Northampton managed to break down a frenzied Mansfield defence when Darryl Westlake hand-balled on the line.
Chris Hackett did a trademark stepover before sending a right footed cross to Alan Connell who headed down before Westlake’s arm intervened.
Basketball fan Darren Carter swept home the resultant penalty with a swish whilst Westlake got a red card for stopping a certain goal.
But the Cobblers couldn’t capitalise on the extra man, failing to take a touch when needed.
The home fans, too, were anxious whilst the 700 away fans backed their team with a wall of sound which, in a show of true support had little connection with what was happening on the pitch.
The Stags played the occasion better with bouncing balls forward on a hard pitch being picked up by runners in behind.
Anthony Howell could have tested both the Northampton goal and home fans’ constitutions when firing into the side netting on seventy-five minutes.
Then, with five minutes remaining, Connell found space to send over a delicious cross for an unmarked Hackett.
But the right winger decided to volley first-time with the ball heading into orbit. The match ended 1-1 and the success of the Stags’ job on the Cobblers was proven by the bitter insults of the home fans who had tasted the sourest of League 2 draws.
Latest | March 2014