REPORTS & REACTION FROM NORTHAMPTON SITES
Report and reaction from ntfc.co.uk
Venue: Sixfields Stadium
Northampton Town 2
Mansfield Town 0
Gabbiadini 2 pen
Kevan Broadhurst marked the first anniversary of his appointment as caretaker manager with a 2-0 win over a spirited Mansfield Town side at Sixfields. The Cobblers raced into an early lead and had chances to add to it during the first half before a rejuvenated Mansfield side enjoyed the best of the second period but they were unable to force their way back into the game and Northampton Town secured the points late on.
Arjan van Heusden was less than a minute into his Mansfield debut when he upended Paul Trollope in the penalty area, after he nipped in between two defenders to pick up a clever through ball from Marco Gabbiadini. With Lee Williamson beginning a three match ban and Kevin Pilkington injured the Dutch goalkeeper signed on loan during the week but he was on the verge of an early bath for his foul on the Cobblers skipper. Last week Lee Harper was dismissed in similar circumstance but seven days on and a different referee, the verdict was yellow. Gabbiadini decided to execute the punishment from the spot and fired his penalty low and into the net via the upright to give the home side an early lead.
Kevan Broadhurst had asked his players to come out ready to scrap and fight for everything and those words had been taken on board judging by the early showing. A clever eighth minute move deserved more, Paul Harsley switched play to the right wing where Paul Rickers, in for the injured Paul McGregor, sent a deft header into the area where Gabbiadini's back heel looked to play Rickers in on goal but Scott Sellars was on hand to clear the ball for a corner but it lead to nothing on this occasion. Former Halifax man Harsley then whipped over a corner, after Gabbiadini had done well moments later, and Chris Hargreaves was denied by the post and this time the ball bounced kindly for van Heusden. Gabbiadini had a shot blocked after ten minutes and then clever inter-play between the goalscorer and Armand One presented the chance for Harsley to try his luck from distance, the ball was well struck but rolled wide from 20 yards.
Iyesden Christie had the ball in the net after 21 minutes but the whistle had long since gone after the striker had picked the ball up in an offside position. Rickers determination won possession back for the Cobblers on the edge of the Stags area and in doing so he found Trollope who struck a rasping left footed shot which went just wide of the post. A long clearance from the impressive Chris Carruthers found One and he turned inside Mark Lever and made inroads into the Mansfield penalty area, he drilled a low ball across the face of the goal and with Gabbiadini waiting at the far post to make sure, it took a desperate lunge from Neil Moore to impressively clear the danger. After half an hour referee Mr Fletcher's benefit of the doubt fell kindly on Lever who had just wrestled Gabbiadini to the ground after the striker had turned past him, he was the last man. For the second time duering the game recent experiences had led Cobblers fans to expect the defender to be dismissed but he escaped with a yellow card. Harsley again found space for a drive which went wide and from his free kick two minutes afterwards Sampson headed over, the Cobblers were working hard for a second and Craig Disley's block tackle at the feet of Trollope denied Northampton Town another shot on goal. Mansfield's best chance of the half arrived via a clever short free kick from Sellars to Neil MacKenzie but he fired over, despite striking the ball cleanly, just before the half time whistle.
Mansfield Town began the half in a determined fashion, Colin Larkin was unlucky with a header at the re-start after he got onto the end of a MacKenzie cross. Sellars then won the ball from Gabbiadini in midfield and threaded a defense splitting pass to put Christie through but he pulled his shot across the face of the goal and it rolled wide of the foot of the post. A 63rd minute shot from One flashed across van Heusden in the Stag's goal as the Cobblers mustered their first attempt on goal during the second interval. A jittery second half was almost compounded by Christie, but his looping header with 20 minutes to go went over Harper and also the bar.
With ten minutes to Northampton Town introduced Richard Hope, back from his hernia operation, to add some more height to the back. When play restarted the Cobblers doubled their lead when their other substitute Derek Asamoah tricked his way to the byline before he picked out Gabbiadini at the far post. His clever header back into the danger area rather than at goal was straight into the path of Trollope who lashed the ball into the back of the net to relieve the pressure on the home side.
Broadhurst delighted to mark anniversary with victory
Kevan Broadhurst was pleased to mark twelve months in the Cobblers hot seat with a 2-0 win against Mansfield Town, a result that pushes the Cobblers in to the top half of the Division 2 table.
"I am delighted, we kept a clean sheet and took two of the seven or eight really good chances we created," said the Cobblers boss.
"People will win leagues and get promoted by winning matches like that. We played last week at Swindon and they didn't create a lot, a penalty and a free kick, but these are games you've got to win. Last week we lost, today we held firm and we came out on top.
"The front men did reasonably well in the first half, and they created a few chances, but we needed that second goal. I thought Armand might have done better with a chance or two. We certainly had a second penalty when Marco got pulled and how the referee didn't see that I don't know. I think that would have settled our nerves a little bit. We didn't really get out of first gear in the second half. The back four stood firm, everyone else defended their set plays well and then we hit them on the break. They will feel a little bit unlucky but towards the end we had some good chances to make it three.
"The referee didn't sent their goalkeeper off but last week we had Lee Harper sent off for a similar type incident. There weren't really too many bad fouls out there but once he set his stall out to book people there was no stopping him.
"I think Marco thrives on being wanted. The interest from Darlington has given him a massive boost. I should probably ring Tommy Taylor and thank him for his interest, then if I can get one of the Premier League clubs to ring about him next week he'll probably do even better! He loves to be out there and scoring goals and today he has got another from the penalty spot which was seventh and that is close to his best ever start.
"Armand is a bit of enigma. He shows some good things on the ball but I want to get more out of him, then I will have a player but that is why a lot of clubs are interested in him. He does fade out of games as he has today and sometimes he doesn't use his frame to the best effect. In the first half I thought he and Gabbiadini did very well for us and that was why we were better than them but in the second half they didn't get hold of it as much as I would like.
"I've now been here 12 months and it has been a tough year for me for various reasons; injuries and suspensions have made it even tougher. We are progressing but we still have some way to go. The squad is definitely better than it was last year - if everyone is available but when we lose one or two key players, like most teams, we struggle. I don't have the luxury to go out there and buy new players. What I have brought in I feel are solid professionals, and they all work hard and do their jobs."
Captain Paul Trollope steered the Cobblers to a stuttering 2-0 win over bottom club Mansfield Town at Sixfields to gift Kevan Broadhurst with a sweet anniversary present. It wasn't all plain sailing for Northampton as the Stags showed why they shouldn't really be rooted as the game wore on.
Sixfields was awash with claret and white as the Cobblers Kids Day took the attendance to just shy of 5,600 - the fans were treated to Marco Gabbiadini upping his scoring total to seven for the season, and witnessing Trollope's cracking strike from close range to seal the victory in front of jubiliant fans.
Mansfield will count themselves unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when they pounded the home defence with all manner of crosses, flick-ons, through balls, but the severe lack of shots on target told on as striker Iyseden Christie was the culprit for missing a host of opportunities.
The surprise of teh day was to see Richard Hope's name in the squad of 16. He was initially ruled out despite making a reserve appearance however a welcome place on the subsititutes bench will have seen his confidence risen. Just as most of the side fought their hearts out against Barnsley and Colchester, Town came out with the same steel and drive - and were duly rewarded in their very first attack.
A ball was driven into Marco Gabbiadini with his back to goal, and produced a deft flick to find a great run from Trollope between two defenders. His stretched control and subsequent touch took him past keeper Arjan Van Heusden, who could not help but bring down the midfielder.
Unfortunately it was an unlucky debut for the keeper, having just signed from Exeter City. His first touch bought the penalty awarded by referee Mick Fletcher, but somehow escaped a sending off and received a yellow - even though Lee Harper was dished the red for a similar offence last week at Swindon.
Up stepped Marco Gabbiadini to set the Cobblers on their way, curling home the spot-kick via the left hand post.
More to follow........
Posted by Martin Shaw
Latest | September 2002