Bury 3 Northampton Town 1 - match review and highlights

Scott Pollock tussles with former Cobblers man Nicky Adams. Pictures: Pete Norton
Scott Pollock tussles with former Cobblers man Nicky Adams. Pictures: Pete Norton

Easter Monday was the third time in three years that Northampton had visited Gigg Lane in April and, for 45 minutes at least, this was easily their best performance of the three.

Whilst they have stuttered of late, Bury remain strong at Gigg Lane - they have the best home record in League Two and only Man City have scored more home goals across the top four divisions this season - and with promotion in sight heading into Monday's clash, they were a team hungry for all three points.

But Cobblers made a blistering start, creating three good opportunities in the first five minutes. Shay Facey headed over, neither David Buchanan nor Daniel Powell could smuggle home, and Joe Murphy stood tall to deny Andy Williams.

Bury weathered the storm and came into the game but Williams' 28th minute opener, making it into double figures for the season, was just reward for Northampton's bold attacking play. Sam Foley and Sam Hoskins combined and Williams did the rest, heading beyond Murphy.

That took the sting out of the game and jangled nerves among home supporters but the crucial moment arrived shortly before half-time when, out of the blue, Nicky Adams escaped David Buchanan to send in a cross and Chris Stokes eluded Shay Facey to finish well past David Cornell.

Bury were more controlled in the second-half and, in Danny Mayor, they had the game's outstanding player. Several times he tied Cobblers players in knots, darting into the box, taking shots at goal and creating chances for others.

Andy Williams celebrates his 10th goal of the campaign

Andy Williams celebrates his 10th goal of the campaign

He had fired a warning shot moments before his goal, curling wide of the top corner, but Town did not heed that warning and it was no surprise when Mayor picked out the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Gigg Lane became increasingly tense as time ticked away and their side were given a huge let-off with just two minutes to go. Dean Bowditch brilliantly picked out Williams but his clipped effort drifted agonisingly wide. It would have been a deserved point for the Cobblers.

Instead, Nicky Maynard made for a flattering final scoreline when converting Bury's third with the game's final act but for anyone in attendance, this was far from a straightforward afternoon for the second-placed Shakers.

It was at Gigg Lane two years ago to the day when the Cobblers secured their League One safety but, beaten 3-0, all the talk afterwards was of their dismal performance and the major rebuilding job required in the summer.

Danny Mayor tied the Cobblers in knots throughout Monday's game.

Danny Mayor tied the Cobblers in knots throughout Monday's game.

Whilst similar upheaval is again expected, their performance against a team chasing promotion should offer some encouragement because the Cobblers more than played their part in an entertaining, evenly-matched affair.

With another game ticked off and the summer fast approach, it's unlikely fans will lose much sleep over another defeat.