Northampton Town 2-0 Ipswich Town - Half-time
Tuesday, 20th Apr 2021 19:57
Two Peter Kioso goals have given Northampton a 2-0 half-time lead over the Blues at Sixfields.
Kayden Jackson and Freddie Sears came into an otherwise unchanged Town team. Jackson replaced James Norwood, who suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury at Charlton on Saturday, as the main striker, while Sears was in for Teddy Bishop, who also dropped out of the 18 due to illness. The former West Ham man started in behind Jackson.
Among the watching scouts was former Blues forward Noel Hunt, who was understood to be being considered for a role at Portman Road by manager Paul Cook when he was appointed.
Town started positively, winning three early corners and following the third, they went within inches of ending their goal drought.
The ball was played to Gwion Edwards 30 yards out and the Welshman, who had started on the left flank with Keanan Bennetts on the right, struck a powerful shot which beat home keeper Jonathan Mitchell to his left but cannoned off the outside of the post.
However, it was the Cobblers who were to take the lead with their first effort on goal in the eighth minute. Joseph Mills sent over a corner from the right and Kioso volleyed in from five yards.
It was a poor goal to concede from a Town perspective, and their second from an opposition corner in three games, but they threatened twice in the following minutes, Sears and Kane Vincent-Young both sending in low crosses from the right which were cut out.
Northampton were very nearly two goals in front in the 18th minute when Sam Hoskins crossed from the left to Caleb Chukwuemeka but Stephen Ward read the situation superbly and blocked the shot when a second Cobblers’ goal looked odds-on. Three minutes later, Alex Jones went wide from the right of the area.
Despite Northampton having the lead and the better of the chances, the Blues were seeing most of the ball. On 23 Ward crossed low from a promising position on the left but again it hit the first defender and deflected away.
Just after the half-hour mark Tomas Holy was forced into a sharp save when Ryan Watson hit a low shot from the edge of the area before Mills saw a scuffed effort from the left turned wide by Mark McGuinness just in front of the line.
And from the corner, the Cobblers doubled their lead. Mills again sent the corner in from the right and Kioso again found the target, this time at the far post. Once more it was another set-piece goal which will have been a big frustration to Town manager Cook.
The second goal seemed to rock Town and in the 38th minute it was very nearly 3-0. Mills crossed from the left and Jones flicked a header just past Holy’s left post with the keeper standing no chance if it had been on target.
Two minutes before the break, the Blues came very close to pulling a goal back when they hit the woodwork for the second time. Edwards under-hit a free-kick from the left and Sears flicked a looping backwards header which beat Mitchell but hit the bar and bounced to safety.
In injury time, Bennetts did well to beat his man and break down the right into the area but again his cross was cut out.
And just before the whistle, Vincent-Young also crossed from the right but the ball struck Jackson on the chest and deflected behind.
As so often this season, the Blues had seen most of the ball but despite getting into promising areas hadn’t been able to turn that into goals.
While they had been unfortunate that Edwards and Sears had hit the woodwork, both efforts came from set pieces with the Blues’ best situations in open play having broken down due to a poor final ball. Town’s goal drought now stands at 484 minutes.
At the other end, Town had been a shambles defensively with Kioso grabbing his two goals and Northampton having had a number of other opportunities and the home side might well have been three or four up at the break.
Town need the type of comeback they’ve shown few signs of being capable of this season in the second half if they’re to take anything from the game and give any meaning to their final four matches.
Northampton: Mitchell, Horsfall, Hoskins, Watson, Jones, Kioso, McWilliams, Morris, Mills (c), Jones, Chukwuemeka. Subs: Harriman, Bolger, Korboa, Miller, Rose, Woods, Marshall.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (c), Downes, Dozzell, Bennetts, Sears, Edwards, Jackson. Subs: Cornell, Chambers, Kenlock, Skuse, Dobra, Drinan, Hawkins. Referee: James Bell (Sheffield).
Photo: Matchday Images
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