Revell levels late as Cobblers secure QPR draw

SIXFIELDS ACTION - Joel Byrom battles for the ball in the Cobblers' 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night (Pictures: kirsty Edmonds)
SIXFIELDS ACTION - Joel Byrom battles for the ball in the Cobblers' 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night (Pictures: kirsty Edmonds)
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A brilliantly-improvised finish from Alex Revell four minutes from time earned the Cobblers a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers in Tuesday’s pre-season friendly at Sixfields.

Northampton had looked set for defeat when Nasser El-Kyayati was given too much time to pick his slot and place a shot into the bottom corner on 81 minutes after QPR had dominated much of the game.

But the Cobblers salvaged a draw through Revell, who latched on to a long ball and fired a brilliant 25-yard volley beyond away goalkeeper Alex Smitihes and into the top corner.

Earlier, Northampton found themselves on the back foot for large parts of the game with manager Rob Page seemingly content to contain the Championship side who carried the greater threat throughout.

The visitors carved out several chances but some excellent last-ditch defending coupled with several fine Adam Smith saves kept them at bay.

The resilience and character of this Northampton performance would have pleased Page in his first home game in charge, however their sloppiness in possession and lack of attacking presence will be of some concern.

Northampton’s team included 20-year-old midfielder and trialist Emmanuel Sonupe who was released by Tottenham Hotspur last month and has featured for England Under-18s.

The home side, set up 4-5-1 with John-Joe O’Toole, Joel Byrom and Shaun McWilliams in central midfield, settled well against their Championship visitors in an even start.

But as the first-half wore on, QPR gradually took a firm grip of possession and bossed the game without testing Smith in the home goal.

Olamide Shodipo came as close to anyone in the opening 45 minutes when spooning over from inside the penalty area, while Tjaronn Chery forced Smith into a fine fingertip save on the stroke of half-time.

Northampton had contained their visitors well aside from those moments and looked comfortable enough, although they lacked a spark at the other end with Marc Richards an isolated figure up front.

QPR picked up in the second-half from where they left off in the first, with Massimo Luongo dragging a shot wide before Zander Diamond’s inch-perfect sliding tackle prevented Shodipo from getting a shot away.

QPR’s pressure built and built, helped by some increasingly wayward Northampton passing, and only another perfectly-time tackle from Gabriel Zakuani stopped a certain goal after Joel Byrom became the latest man guilty of needlessly conceding possession.

With Northampton’s threat at the other end almost non-existent, QPR were able to maintain their control of proceedings and they came close again but Smith was there to deny Shodipo.

There was a moment of promise for Cobblers midway through the half, however, when a well-worked move saw McWilliams and Byrom combine to set away Buchanan, whose teasing cross was just beyond the stretching Revell.

QPR were quickly back on the attack and Nedum Onuoha spurned a golden chance to break the deadlock when scooping over from just yards out.

Cobblers seemed to have weathered the storm somewhat and had gained a foothold in the game, but just when it seemed they’d earn a share of the spoils, QPR struck what appeared to be the decisive blow.

Their goal arrived on 81 minutes and came after Cobblers had failed to clear a corner, with from substitute El-Kyayati allowed time and space to stroke a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.

But Northampton weren’t done there and they had the final say through Revell, who powered home past the previously untested Smitihies to snatch a point, albeit only after QPR had applied some late pressure.

Match facts

Cobblers: Smith, Phillips, Diamond, Zakuani, Buchanan, Byrom, O’Toole, D’Ath (Gillies 68), McWilliams, Sonupe (trialist), Richards (Revell 45)

Subs:Taylor, Cresswell, McCammon, Cornell, Hall

QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Caulker, Hall, Polter, Chery, Gladwin, Shodipo (El-Kyayati 71), Henry (Cousins 45), Luongo, Perch

Subs: Kpekawa, Furlong, Emmanuel-Thomas, Doughty, Ingram

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 2,423

QPR fans: 663