Cobblers overcome Frome test to earn third friendly victory
Cobblers made it three wins from three pre-season outings with a relatively routine 4-0 victory over Frome TownÂ at the SpecialEffect Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Southern League outfit were stubborn opposition for much of a hard-fought tussle but Town's superior quality told in the end and ensured they clinched a deserved win.
Marc Richards opened the scoring midway through the first-half before Daniel Powell added a second on the hour-mark and Alex Revell volleyed in a third, followed by Dean Bodwitch providing the gloss to the scoreline with a last-minute fourth.
There was little else of note to report from an otherwise standard pre-season affair that was largely dominated by the League Out outfit although the presence of new boy Matt Crooks on the sidelines will be sure to excite Northampton fans.
Justin Edinburgh's most recent recruit must wait for his first appearance in Cobblers colours after sitting out this game having only signed for the club hours earlier, but tomorrow's friendly at AFC Rushden & Diamonds, which has been upgraded to a first-team fixture, may present an opportunity for him to feature.
Edinburgh again used Tuesday to further increase playing time for his squad, with the starting line-up given an hour of game-time and the rest 30 minutes.
Five summer signings - Ash Taylor, Leon Barnett, Sam Foley, Billy Waters and Daniel Powell - were included from the off while academy trio Prudence Anaele, Jarvis Wilson and James Gillard featured on the bench, but Joe Iaciofano and Shaun McWilliams missed out altogether.
The Cobblers failed to turn a bright start into serious pressure or goal-scoring chances as Frome, who finished 16th in the Southern League Premier Division last season, hung in and kept the League One outfit relatively quiet in a fairly even opening quarter.
The game, which helped raise money for SpecialEffect Charity in memory of Frome supporter Tom Clark, lacked spark in truth although Town would have broken the deadlock but for a last-ditch intervention by Frome's Marcus Mapstone after Powell utilised his pace well to skip past goalkeeper Kyle Phillips.
The home side more than held their own and even went close to going ahead but, with several half chances going begging for the hosts, the Cobblers struck first when Richards' deflected shot found the bottom corner after Foley and Waters combined neatly to tee up the skipper.
The goal didn't trigger the flurry of opportunities some may have expected though, and in fact Frome were fractions from going into half-time level when, amid some Northampton half chances, Chas Hemmings pounced on some hesitation in the away defence struck the woodwork.
Ash Taylor's overhead kick then landed on the roof of the net and home keeper Phillips thwarted Waters as Town ended the half on top without extending their slender advantage.
Northampton continued be confronted by a spirited and resilient Frome side in the early stages of the second-half and clear-cut chances remained at a premium.
John-Joe O'Toole's shot from the edge of the area was blocked and Ash Taylor headed his namesake's corner a whisker wide before the second goal eventually arrived through Powell who found the bottom corner on the hour-mark.
Then came the expected raft of substitutions as every starting XI player came off bar Ash Taylor and goalkeeper David Cornell, but Northampton didn't loosen their grip on proceedings and after Dean Bowditch squandered a fine chance to make it three, Revell made no mistake moments later with a well-taken finish into the bottom corner.
A late flurry from Fome almost saw them nick a late consolation but a terrific block by Regan Poole ensured Town's clean sheet remained intact, and the job was completed in the final minute by Bowditch, who shot into an empty net after Revell had been denied by the goalkeeper.
Cobblers first hour XI: Cornell, Phillips, Barnett, A Taylor, Buchanan, Foley, M Taylor, Waters, O'Toole, Powell, Richards
Final 30 minutes XI: Cornell, Moloney, Poole, A Taylor, Smith, Kasim, Anaele (academy), Gillard (academy), Lobjoit, Revell, Bowditch
Frome starting XI: Phillips, Miller, Withey, Teale, Mapstone, Hemmings, Davies, Hobbs, Jackson, Raynes, Jeffries
Referee: Kevin Johnson