Cobblers pick up well-deserved away point with excellent display at in-form Accrington

Shaun McWilliams was back in the team on Saturday. Picture: Pete Norton.Shaun McWilliams was back in the team on Saturday. Picture: Pete Norton.
Shaun McWilliams was back in the team on Saturday. Picture: Pete Norton.
But still no goals for Town as they slip another place in League One

Cobblers picked up an unexpected but well-deserved point on the road when they held in-form and high-flying Accrington Stanley to a goalless draw at the Crown Ground on Saturday.

Accrington put six goals past Bristol Rovers in midweek and had been looking to move into the play-off places with victory over Town but they were second best for much of the contest, not managing a single shot on target.

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Cobblers were by far the better side before half-time and created numerous promising situations, including nine corners, without their good play resulting in anything clear-cut in front of goal.

Danny Rose goes up for a header.Danny Rose goes up for a header.
Danny Rose goes up for a header.

The second-half was more of a scrap as both sides carved out one good opportunity each - neither converted - before Accrington's Joe Pritchard saw red for two late yellow cards.

Town drop a place to 22nd in League One but, for the third away game in four, can take encouragement from their performance. They must now find that crucial end product ahead of two huge games against Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion.

Shaun McWilliams returned to the team after only coming on as a second-half substitute at Blackpool in midweek and striker Danny Rose was also back leading the line. Bryn Morris, who had struggled with illness during the week, and Ryan Watson were the men to drop to the bench.

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Jack Sowerby leathered a sweet 25-yard strike straight at Nathan Baxter in the opening 90 seconds before Peter Kioso went close with a couple of headers at set-piece situations, Baxter tipping over the second of those, as Town made a strong start.

The away side remained in the ascendency and another chance fell to Fraser Horsfall after good work by Kioso on the right but, after a good first touch, the defender was denied by a superb defensive block.

Dion Charles sliced a decent opportunity into the side-netting for Accy but an indication of just how well Town had started the game arrived shortly before the half-hour mark when Stanley boss John Coleman felt the need to make both a tactical and personnel change.

That didn't really halt Cobblers' momentum, however, and they were close again late in the first-half when the excellent Kioso set away Ryan Edmondson whose low cross was just beyond the reach of Rose and Sam Hoskins.

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Level at half-time, Town continued to have the better of it in the second period and they threatened again as Edmondson and Rose combined for the latter to get a shot off under pressure, but it was comfortable for Baxter.

The second-half was scrappy and evenly-matched but Accrington were more in the game and came within inches of breaking the deadlock just passed the hour-mark when Colby Bishop squeezed a shot marginally wide.

The game could have gone either way entering the final 20 minutes and Cobblers did get one clear sight of goal themselves with Edmondson doing well to set up Sowerby but, inside the box, he dragged wide via a deflection.

A brilliant last-ditch challenge stopped Charles getting a shot off and then Stanley were reduced to 10 men when Pritchard saw red for two poor challenges, although that came too late in the day to change the outcome.

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Accrington: Baxter, Nottingham, Hughes, Uwakwe (Burgess 27), Conneely (c), Barclay, Phillips (Smyth 80), McConville, Pritchard, Charles, Bishop

Subs not used: Savin, Russell, Rodgers, Scully, Morgan

Cobblers: Mitchell, Jones, Bolger (c), Horsfall, Kioso, Mills (Morris 61), McWilliams, Sowerby, Hoskins (Marshall 89), Rose, Edmondson (Korboa 82)

Subs not used: Arnold, Harriman, Watson, Chukwuemeka

Referee: Peter Wright