Northampton Town 3-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 20th Apr 2021 20:59
Town’s hopes of making the play-offs were all but ended as Peter Kioso scored twice and Ryan Watson once as they were beaten 3-0 by Northampton Town at Sixfields. Kioso netted from corners in the eighth and 32nd minute in a first period in which the Cobblers could have been further in front and Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears hit the woodwork, while Kane Vincent-Young and Oli Hawkins spurned golden opportunities in the second. With six minutes remaining Watson completed another dreadful evening for the Blues, whose goal drought has now extended to 529 minutes.
Kayden Jackson and 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 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 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.
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 needed the type of comeback they’ve shown few signs of being capable of this season in the second half.
Soon after the restart, Ward cut back from the left but Bennetts failed to read the ball, was caught on his heels and the danger was cleared.
The deficit should have been reduced to one goal in the 50th minute when Vincent-Young missed a golden opportunity to grab his first of the season. Edwards played Jackson in on the left of the box and the striker played it across the six-yard area to Vincent-Young who seemed certain to score but somehow hit his shot against Mitchell’s feet as the keeper desperately made his way back across goal.
Four minutes later, Mitchell was quickly off his line to take a bouncing ball away from Sears as the striker chased a ball down the middle.
In the 55th minute Northampton switched Chukwuemeka for Mark Marshall, then two minutes later Armando Dobra took over from Bennetts.
Edwards took the ball into the box at pace just after the hour mark - with the Blues’ goalless streak having stretched beyond 500 minutes - and got clipped as he did so but stayed on his feet and was eventually was dispossessed.
Town were making little serious headway and so on 67 Jackson and Sears was swapped for Oli Hawkins and Aaron Drinan.
Three minutes after coming on, Hawkins should have pulled a goal back. Ward got round the back on the left and crossed for the former Portsmouth striker, who rose high but headed over the angle of bar and post. While not as clear cut as Vincent-Young’s miss it was another chance the Blues should have taken.
Town’s misery was complete in the 84th minute when keeper Holy came out of his goal to the right of his area but his clearance struck Hoskins and deflected into the middle of the Blues’ half from where Watson shot into an empty net.
In the final minutes, Cobblers sub Danny Rose was booked for clipping Vincent-Young as the right-back broke forwards midway inside the home side’s half.
A minute later, Vincent-Young shot wide in the wake of a corner with the ball appearing to deflect off a defender, however, referee James Bell thought otherwise. The former Colchester United man shot wide again from a further effort from another corner.
Bell’s final whistle confirmed another disappointing result against one of the division’s struggling sides with the game virtually over by half-time as was the case at AFC Wimbledon a week ago.
Having started the second half promisingly following the disastrous first period, the Blues really needed an early goal to give them momentum. And they created the chance they needed but somehow Vincent-Young was unable to take it.
From there, they lost their impetus until the Hawkins opportunity which the big striker will feel he also should have taken. The third goal, Northampton’s only shot of the second half. summed up Town’s evening and the shambolic nature of the performance.
The Blues again failed to score with the new owners, whose takeover was announced two weeks ago tomorrow, yet to see a Town goal. The goalless streak has now stretched to five full games plus 79 minutes of the victory over Bristol Rovers - nine hours all but 12 minutes plus injury time.
The defeat means any lingering hopes the Blues had of making the play-offs are all but over barring mathematical miracles and it will be another season of League One football in 2021/22.
Northampton: Mitchell, Horsfall, Hoskins, Watson, Jones (Rose 82), Kioso, McWilliams, Morris, Mills (c), Jones, Chukwuemeka (Marshall 55). Unused: Harriman, Bolger, Korboa, Miller, Rose, Woods.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (c), Downes, Dozzell, Bennetts (Dobra 57), Edwards, Sears (Drinan 67), Jackson (Hawkins 67). Unused: Cornell, Chambers, Kenlock, Skuse. Referee: James Bell (Sheffield).
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