Below-par Cobblers see winning run come to an end in feisty affair with 10-man Rovers

Sam Hoskins scores from the spot. Picture: Pete Norton.Sam Hoskins scores from the spot. Picture: Pete Norton.
Sam Hoskins scores from the spot. Picture: Pete Norton.
Bristol Rovers 2 Northampton Town 1

Cobblers' four-game winning run in the league came to a disappointing end when they were beaten 2-1 by Bristol Rovers in a chaotic, badly-tempered affair at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Town led at half-time through Sam Hoskins' penalty but they were somewhat fortunate to be in that position having struggled to to assert themselves throughout a tetchy first-half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The game hinged on the 15-minute period after half-time when Josh Grant headed Rovers level before Antony Evans pounced on a rare mistake from Jon Guthrie.

Cobblers played the final 20 or so minutes against 10 men after Glenn Whelan' s red card but their attempts to build up a head of steam were rebuffed as the game descended into a chaotic mess.

There can't be any complaints about the result though given Northampton's poor performance, both with the ball and without it, as both their clean sheet run and winning streak met a frustrating end.

Jack Sowerby missed out with a knock so Jordan Flores slotted into midfield and Dominic Revan kept his place at right-back with Aaron McGowan only fit enough for the bench.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rovers could have been ahead inside 75 seconds when Grant got away down the left and squared for Evans in the middle of the penalty box, but he dragged wide of the far post.

Cobblers immediately responded with their own big chance as the ball dropped to Kion Etete inside the box and he hit his shot hard but straight at James Belshaw.

It was a lively and open start and whilst neither side grabbed a frantic first-half by the scruff of the neck, Rovers shaded things and had the more dangerous moments.

Fraser Horsfall nearly diverted into his own net when cutting out a through pass and then the dangerous Grant went fractionally close, catching the post when left all alone at the back post.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Cobblers were awarded a penalty eight minutes before half-time when Paul Lewis spun in the box and was tripped by Connor Taylor. Regular penalty-taker Hoskins was back on duty and he calmly sent Belshaw the wrong way to send Town into half-time with a one-goal lead.

Town needed to improve in the second-half but they failed to do so and were punished eight minutes after the restart when Harry Anderson's cross was headed in by Grant at the back post.

And Rovers completed the turnaround just five minutes later when an uncharacteristic error by Guthrie allowed Anderson through on goal and he confidently beat Lim Roberts.

Cobblers were in need of a boost and they got one midway through the second-half when Whelan was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for bringing down Mitch Pinnock.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the game, which had been fractious throughout, then descended into something of a farce with the officials not helping Town's cause to build momentum. The ball barely stayed in play for more than 30 seconds at a time.

Jon Brady made a triple change, sending on Nicke Kabamba, Michael Harriman and Dylan Connolly, but it made no significant impact his side's performance.

Eight minutes of stoppage-time presented an opportunity to grab a last-gasp leveller and they did have the chance to do so, but Connolly snatched horribly at his shot after Belshaw parried Ali Koiki's cross.

Fraser Horsfall also saw a header cleared off the line with the very last act of the game as Rovers clung on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rovers: Belshaw, Kilgour, Finley, Nicholson (Collins 89), Coutts, Taylor, Anderson, Grant (Anderton 65), Harries, Whelan, Evans (Thomas 70)

Subs not used: Ward, Westbrooke, Martinez, Spence

Cobblers: Roberts, Revan (Harriman 77), Horsfall (c), Guthrie, Koiki, McWilliams, Flores (Kabamba 77), Lewis, Hoskins, Pinnock (Connolly 77), Etete

Subs not used: Maxted, McGowan, Pollock, Rose

Referee: Sam Allison

Attendance: 6,884

Cobblers fans: 509

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.