Unbeaten Cobblers secure point in dour goalless draw at Oldham

NO WAY THROUGH - Gaby Zakuani proves too strong for Billy McKay during the Cobblers' 0-0 draw at Oldham (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
NO WAY THROUGH - Gaby Zakuani proves too strong for Billy McKay during the Cobblers' 0-0 draw at Oldham (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Cobblers collected their third point from three Sky Bet League One games this season after they played out a dour goalless draw away at Oldham Athletic on Tuesday evening.

A lack of quality in the final third was the downfall for both sides as neither did enough to earn all three points with the two goalkeepers barely tested.

Oldham had more of the ball and always looked the more likely to score, but another resilient defensive effort from the visitors kept them at bay.

At the other end, though, the Cobblers were poor and struggled to ever put the Oldham back four under pressure.

It’s a point nonetheless, making it three draws from three, and one which extends the club record unbeaten run to 27 league games.

Sam Hoskins replaced Harry Beautyman in the only change to the team from Saturday, and he made a bright start with his pace and movement giving Oldham some early problems.

Indeed, it was Hoskins who was the instigator of the game’s first clear opening as he and Kenji Gorre combined to win a free-kick on the left, from which Matty Taylor sent in an inviting cross and gave Alex Revell two chances to take the lead but both times he failed to convert.

Latics goalkeeper Connor Ripley was well-positioned to parry clear his near-post header before he put the follow-up effort over with the goal gaping.

Thereafter, Oldham gradually seized the upper-hand as the first-half developed but whilst they pressed and probed for an opening, Adam Smith was relatively untested in the away goal.

There was one moment of real danger for the visitors, however, and that came when the Northampton defence went walkabouts and allowed Oldham new boy Charles Dunne to weave his way through before shooting past Smith, but Gabriel Zakuani recovered in the nick of time to clear off the line, and Aaron Phillips then did likewise to thwart Lee Erwin’s follow-up attempt.

That cranked up the noise level inside Boundary Park and Oldham remained on the front foot throughout the remainder of the first-half as Peter Clarke headed wide and Josh Law also blazed off target after a burst into the box.

With Revell cutting an isolated figure up front, Northampton offered little in attack and were fortunate not to be behind going into half-time, but the early signs in the second-half were more encouraging.

Gorre had one opportunity to burst clear down the left before having a shot blocked while Alfie Potter almost slid through Hoskins but Ripley raced out to collect.

Oldham’s threat had waned and much like the first, the second period struggled to ever burst into life with goalmouth action kept to a premium.

The Latics appeared the likelier side to win it going into the final 20 minutes and their pressure built and built with a series of corners and free-kicks.

But for all their pressing, Smith was only called into action once and that was to gather Clarke’s ambitious 30-yard effort.

Attacks at the other end were less frequent but there was one very presentable opportunity for Northampton to win it when Hoskins fed Gorre on the left side of the penalty area, however the loanee’s first-time shot was weak and well wide.

That rather summed up the evening and a goalless draw accurately represented a poor game low on quality.

Match facts

Oldham: Ripley, Law, Burgess, Clarke, Dunne, Fane, Green, Flynn (Klok 89), Croft (Jahraldo-Martin 64), Erwin, Mckay (Osei 82)

Subs not used: Kettings, Wilson, Banks, Edmundson

Cobblers: Smith, Phillips, Diamond, Zakuani, Buchanan, Hoskins, O’Toole (Byrom 71), Taylor, Gorre, Potter (Beautyman 60), Revell (Richards 77)

Subs not used: Cornell, Moloney, Nyatanga, Sonupe

Referee: Seb Stockbridge

Attendance: 3,327 - Number of Cobblers fans not given