Northampton Town ended their losing run when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium this afternoon.
The Cobblers struggled to get a foothold throughout a first half dominated by Stanley, but Marc Richards’ fine finish shortly before half-time gave the visitors a fortuitous lead going into the break.
Josh Windass levelled things up from the spot shortly after the restart, however, and though both sides had chances to take all three points, neither could convert as the game finished all square to halt Northampton’s run of three straight defeats.
It’s also Town’s first draw of the season and leaves them with a record of two wins, two defeats and one draw from their opening five games in Sky Bet League Two.
Chris Wilder made two changes from the defeat at Newcastle with Adam Smith returning to goal and Lawson D’Ath replacing Ryan Watson, while Joel Byrom made his 50th appearance for the club.
Both sides were quick off the mark with Seamus Conneely having an early shot blocked by Ryan Cresswell before Town responded by going straight up the other end but Nicky Adams’ cross just evaded Richards at the back post.
Northampton enjoyed most of the early possession but Accrington looked dangerous on the break, and it was a counter-attack which almost brought the opening goal when Matty Crooks headed over Sean McConville’s cross following a brisk Accrington break that all stemmed from a Cobblers corner.
Northampton tried to settle into their usual passing rhythm and a slick move almost got Adams in on goal but his shot from a tight angle was comfortably over.
That was largely against the balance of play, though, as the home side’s pace caused problems with Piero Mingoia particularly looking dangerous and the Accrington winger had the first shot on target when he cut inside and saw a low effort saved by Smith.
That signalled the start of a period of pressure from the hosts as Windass then had a strong penalty shout waved away before the follow up shot sailed just over, and that was followed by Adam Buxton’s free-kick clipping the top of the crossbar.
Mingoia was in the thick of the action moments later as a one-two saw him get free down the right and he swung in an inviting cross, which Conneely headed wide.
The Cobblers were sloppy in possession and struggled to make much headway beyond the halfway line with Stanley looking the more the more threatening side, although Town did improve as the first half wore on, albeit with little end product.
At least, that’s how it seemed with half-time looming but then, out of nowhere, the Cobblers struck.
The goal began with Smith, whose long kick forward found Richards and the striker managed to evade the Accrington defence before, from a tight angle, he dinked a sublime finish over Jason Mooney in the home goal.
That was enough to give Town a fortuitous lead at half-time given the pattern of the first half with Stanley ruing a string of missed chances.
The opening moments of the second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Windass having a low long-range effort saved by Smith before Buxton’s 30-yard free-kick sailed over the crossbar.
Eventually the home side were rewarded for their good play when a spell of pressure finished with D’Ath bringing Windass in the penalty area.
Windass picked himself up and emphatically converted the spot-kick, blasting into the top corner.
The equaliser breathed new life into Stanley, who immediately came forward again but Crooks opted to pass when a shot may have been the better option.
When Northampton did manage to get forward, their final ball let them down as Adams almost released Richards, while up the other end, Terry Gornell almost scrambled the ball home from close-range.
Accrington continued to threaten every time they came forward, and Windass was agonisingly close to his and Stanley’s second, only to drag a shot inches wide.
The game then spluttered into an action-packed passage of play as D’Ath had a shot blocked before McDonald’s crucial intervention prevented the hosts from getting a shot away having broken up the other end.
Immediately, the Cobblers countered and Richards pounced on a mistake from a home defender to get through on goal but his shot was well saved by Mooney, who also denied Adams from the resultant corner.
Having spent so much of the game on the back foot, Northampton were finishing the stronger of the two sides and Adams was again thwarted by Mooney moments later as the keeper made a super save diving to hist left before Cresswell headed wide.
Substitute Sam Hoskins was next to be denied by Mooney after he got free following a quick one-two but proceeded to shoot straight at the home stopper.
That was the last action of note and the game ended all square for the Cobblers’ first draw of the season.
Accrington: Mooney, Pearson, Winnard, Davies, Buxton (Wakefield 90), Crooks, Conneely (Barry 79), Mingoia, McConville, Windass (Kee 73), Gornell (c)
Subs not used: Etheridge, Morgan, Wright, Bruna
Cobblers: Smith, Yates, McDonald, Cresswell, Buchanan, Byrom, Taylor (Watson 82), Potter (Hoskins 62), Adams, D’Ath (Hakcett 78), Richards (c)
Subs not used: Clarke, Lelan, Corry, Calvert-Lewin
Referee: Sebastian Stocksbridge
Cobblers fans: 292