Appéré strikes with the final kick of the season as Cobblers snatch final-day point against Barnsley

Marc Leonard played his 97th and final game for the Cobblers after two seasons on loan.Marc Leonard played his 97th and final game for the Cobblers after two seasons on loan.
Marc Leonard played his 97th and final game for the Cobblers after two seasons on loan.
Barnsley 1 Northampton Town 1

Louis Appéré scored with the final kick of the season as Cobblers hit the 60-point mark in dramatic fashion when snatching a last-gasp point against promotion-chasing Barnsley on Saturday.

The Tykes needed victory to be certain of finishing in the play-offs and they were well on course to deliver after Herbie Kane struck in the first half on a tense final day at Oakwell.

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Town stayed in the game though and they provided a dose of late drama – not for the first time this season – when Appéré stabbed home deep into stoppage-time, a goal which took them up to 60 points and wrapped up 14th position. It’s both their highest points tally and best finishing position in League One since 2008.

Jon Brady was without Sam Hoskins (injured) and Ali Koiki (illness) so Manny Monthé and Jordan Willis both came in as Cobblers changed to a back three, with Akin Odimayo replacing Aaron McGowan at right wing-back.

Barnsley would have been wanting an early goal in their pursuit of a play-off place but Cobblers did not allow them the quick start they desired and had as much, if not more, of the ball in the opening 10 minutes.

The visitors also had the first opening of the contest on 14 minutes when Willis found Kieron Bowie with an excellent pass over the top of Barnsley’s defence but neither Bowie nor Mitch Pinnock were able to get a shot off inside the penalty box.

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With Blackpool and Oxford winning elsewhere, home fans at Oakwell were starting to get a little edgy when their side hit the front with a goal from nothing. The clock had just ticked into the 18th minute when Adam Phillips cushioned down a long pass for Kane, whose first-time went through Lee Burge.

Cobblers more than held their own in the first half but could not make the most of some promising moments. Louis Appéré wasn’t quick enough to get away from a defender when put through on goal before Town earned four corners in succession, one of which led to Bowie having a close-range shot blocked.

Devante Cole was close to adding a second in first half stoppage-time but the visitors were still in the game at half-time, although they lost a key man within eight minutes of the restart when Bowie’s Cobblers career ended in disappointment as he limped off with injury, replaced by Tyreece Simpson.

Town threatened on the break as Jack Sowerby broke through the middle and found Pinnock, whose shot deflected narrowly over, but Barnsley really should have eased nerves among their supporters on the hour after a mix-up between Burge and Odimayo, only John McAtee’s shot to be cleared off the line by Jon Guthrie.

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The home side had better control of the game in the second half but the longer their lead remained so fragile, the more the tension grew.

Marc Leonard had a crack from 30 yards with 15 minutes to go, held by Liam Roberts, and substitute Shaun McWilliams was agonisingly close with a diving header that dropped just wide of the far post.

As stoppage-time ticked away, Barnsley looked like they would cling on but there was to be a late twist. Leonard launched a late free-kick into the box, Guthrie won the initial header and Appéré stuck out a leg to diver the ball into the net and grab a dramatic point.

Barnsley: Roberts, Williams ©, De Gevigney, Cadden, Kane, O’Keeffe (Cotter 90), Phillips, Earl, Cole (Cosgrove 83), McAtee (Jalo 71), Connell

Subs not used: Killip, Grant, Marsh, McCart

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Cobblers: Burge, Willis, Guthrie ©, Sherring, Odimayo (McGowan 61), Monthé (McWilliams 74), Sowerby (Hondermarck 74), Leonard, Pinnock, Bowie (Simpson 55), Appéré

Subs not used: Dadge, Fox, Springett

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 15,108

Cobblers fans: 1,222

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