Disappointing Cobblers fail to fire again in defeat at Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe Wanderers 2 Northampton Town 0
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Cobblers’ winless run stretched to five games when they were beaten 2-0 by Wycombe Wanderers in a largely poor encounter at Adams Park on Saturday.

The first half was a strong contender for the most boring, lifeless 45 minutes of the season as the two teams mustered a grand total of six shots between them, five of which came from at least 25 yards.

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Needless to say, it was goalless at the break and for 24 minutes the second half provided little more entertainment – but Wycombe struck out of nothing through Matt Butcher, and then his late second secured victory.

Liam Moore in action against Wycombe. Picture: Pete NortonLiam Moore in action against Wycombe. Picture: Pete Norton
Liam Moore in action against Wycombe. Picture: Pete Norton

Town have already done a lot of good work to virtually secure survival in League One this season but, after another flat showing on the road, it’s hard to escape the feeling that their campaign is in danger of fizzling out.

Jon Brady’s defensive injury issues continued with the loss of Patrick Brough, which meant four centre-halves started for Northampton against Wycombe, including Manny Monthé who lined up at left-back.

Sam Hoskins also missed out through illness so Tony Springett made his full Cobblers debut, while Mitch Pinnock replaced Louis Appéré, and there was a return to the squad for Aaron McGowan.

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The contest at Adams Park hardly began at full tilt and it took 16 minutes for either side to even have a sniff of goal when Springett jinked past two defenders and forced home stopper Franco Ravizzoli into a decent low save.

There was work for his opposite number to do a few minutes later as Louie Moulden beat away Freddie Potts’ fierce long-range strike but to describe the first half as a slow-burner would have been an understatement.

Neither side possessed the quality or impetus to carve out a decent chance and subsequently they went into the break on level terms.

There was not much improvement in the second half but Cobblers did enjoy a spell of pressure 10 minutes after the restart, at the end of which Springett came close to turning in Pinnock’s low cutback.

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The game continued to labour along and a breakthrough did not seem imminent, but Town switched off for a brief moment on 69 minutes and paid the price. Kieron Sadler’s quick throw found Butcher who drove into the box and applied a low finish across Moulden.

Cobblers responded by making a triple change, and they should have been level within three minutes of going behind when Bowie found himself through one-on-one with Ravizzoli, but he couldn’t beat the Wycombe goalkeeper.

Things had suddenly livened up and the hosts almost extended their lead as Moulden clawed away Josh Scowen’s well-hit shot before the follow up effort was blocked.

But Wycombe did have a second seven minutes from full-time and again it was Butcher on target, his cross-shot floated over a stranded Moulden and snuck in at the back post, effectively wrapping up all three points.

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Wycombe: Ravizzoli, Grimmer ©, Tafazolli (Forino 80), Butcher, Leahy, Potts, Taylor (Scowen 60), Lonwijk, Sadler, Kodua (Kone 60), Lubala

Subs not used: Stryjek, Campbell, McCarthy, Vokes

Cobblers: Moulden, Sherring (McGowan 72), Moore, Guthrie ©, Monthé, Sowerby (Hondermarck 72), McWilliams (Fox 72), Leonard (Appéré 82), Pinnock, Springett (Simpson 85), Bowie

Subs not used: Dadge, Dyche

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 4,583

Cobblers fans: 655