Cobblers sign off pre-season with draw at Cambridge United
Cambridge United 0 Northampton Town 0
Cobblers wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a goalless draw at League One Cambridge United on Saturday.
Town's starting XI at the Abbey Stadium could well be the team that walks out against Port Vale at Sixfields next weekend and they put up a good showing in an evenly-matched but goalless opening 45 minutes.
The encounter was not rich on clear-cut chances and when one did come along through a second-half penalty for Cambridge, Town goalkeeper Liam Roberts was equal to it as he produced an excellent low save.
The draw brings the curtain down on pre-season and now all eyes turn to next Saturday's League Two opener against Port Vale.
There was a welcome return to the team for Shaun McWilliams following several weeks out, and Danny Rose also made the bench, but Sam Hoskins and Jack Sowerby were again absent, as was Michael Harriman.
Mitch Pinnock was Town's chief threat throughout the first-half as he sent an early free-kick narrowly wide and also saw two shots well-blocked by the familiar Lloyd Jones and another held by Dimi Mitov.
At the other end, Liam Roberts was twice called into action, smothering bravely at the feet of Harvey Knibbs and then reacting smartly after being wrong-footed by Jack Iredale's deflected effort.
The best chance of the first-half came 10 minutes before the break when Dylan Connolly led a breakaway for the Cobblers and picked out an unmarked Nicke Kabamba in the penalty box, but the striker dragged disappointingly wide.
Wes Hoolahan shot straight at Roberts in a similar opportunity for Cambridge moments later but there was nothing separating the sides at half-time.
United were gifted a great opportunity to break the deadlock five minutes into the second-half when Roberts clattered James Brophy after Aaron McGowan's poor back header, but Town's goalkeeper redeemed himself with a brilliant stop from Joe Ironside's spot-kick.
Paul Lewis slashed at a chance from inside the box but a flurry of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game and things rather petered out, although Roberts did deny Ironside again with another sharp stop late on.
Cambridge: Mitov, Williams, Jones (O'Neil 50), Iredale, Digby, Taylor (c), Brophy, Ironside, May (Weir 76), Knibbs (Tracey 67), Hoolahan (Smith 76)
Subs not used: Dunk, Dallas, Worman, Bennett
Cobblers: Roberts, McGowan, Horsfall (c), Guthrie, Koiki (Chukwuemeka 65), S McWilliams (Flores 45), Lewis, Pinnock (Nelson 78), Connolly (Mills 56), Kabamba (Pollock 78), Ashley-Seal (Rose 60)
Subs not used: Maxted, C McWilliams (trialist)
Referee: Alan Dale