Cresswell wins it as Town edge closer to play-offs

Ryan Cresswell is congratulated after scoring against Tranmere (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Ryan Cresswell is congratulated after scoring against Tranmere (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

The Cobblers recorded their ninth win in 12 games to move to within three points of the Sky Bet League Two play-off places.

Ryan Cresswell scored the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the team’s latest success.

It was a deserving win and one which edges the team closer to the top seven and a place in the promotion race.

The home side were in their stride right from the start, with James Gray and Lawson D’Ath both forcing Owain Fon Williams to make saves with shots from around the edge of the box.

Their tempo slowed as the game progressed and they had to wait until the 20th minute for the next good chance, when Brendan Moloney’s shot was blocked at close quarters by Rob Taylor after Ricky Holmes had played the right-back in.

Holmes then produced one his explosive left-to-right runs and unleashed a fierce shot which Fon Williams did well to tip over the bar; credit must go to Cresswell for intercepting a pass earlier in the move.

Darren Carter did similarly well to nick the ball off Danny Gardner on the edge of his own area and sweep a pass to D’Ath down the left, from where he cut inside and curled a shot which beat the goalkeeper but bounced to safety off the crossbar.

Moments later, Tranmere made a strong appeal for a penalty when Jennison Myrie-Williams went to ground after drifting past Cresswell but the referee was unmoved.

Northampton began the second half in dominant mood and exerted a 10-minute spell of pressure which ended with Cresswell headed a corner wide.

It looked a bad miss but the ball was slightly behind him and he was off balance at the point of contact and, anyway, he got another chance just a minute or two later.

Right-back Michael Ihiekwe took D’Ath down by the touchline, Carter swirled in the free-kick and Cresswell did the rest with a stooping header inside the six-yard box.

D’Ath almost scored an excellent second with a shot which was blocked after he had burst past two defenders from the left wing and Cresswell headed another corner wide.

Gray shot when a pass to D’Ath would have produced a certain goal and they were almost made to pay for it, Duke making a fine save to divert Jordan Hugill’s header onto his crossbar at a corner.

Cobblers: Duke; Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood; Taylor, Carter; D’Ath, O’Toole, Holmes; Gray

Subs: Hackett (for Holmes 70), Toney (for O’Toole 82), Newey (for Gray 83)

Not used: Bodin, Diamond, Perry, Jalal

Tranmere: Fon Williams; Ihiekwe, Thompson, Donacien, Ridehalgh; Myrie-Williams, Jennings, Power, Taylor; Gardner, Odejayi

Subs: Donnelly (for Taylor 45), Hugill (for Thompson 71), Shuker (for Jennings 79)

Not used: Holmes, Laird, Dugdale, Ramsbottom

Attendance: 4,428

Away fans: 281

Referee: Graham Salisbury