Haynes bags late winner as Cobblers start new season with dramatic and thrilling win over Colchester

Northampton Town 3 Colchester United 2

By James Heneghan
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 5:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th July 2022, 5:14 pm
Sam Hoskins blasts Cobblers into a first-half lead after being superbly set up by Danny Hylton. Picture: Pete Norton.
Sam Hoskins blasts Cobblers into a first-half lead after being superbly set up by Danny Hylton. Picture: Pete Norton.

Ryan Haynes marked his debut with a last-minute winner as Cobblers kicked off their 2022/23 League Two season with a dramatic and thrilling 3-2 victory over Colchester United at Sixfields.

Sam Hoskins scored Northampton’s first goal of the campaign just before the half-hour mark but it was not enough to have them in front at half-time despite dominating much of the opening 45 minutes, with Freddie Sears’ hotly-disputed penalty hauling Colchester level.

Hoskins, a livewire throughout, doubled his tally from the penalty spot in a scrappy second-half but again the lead did not last long after Noah Chilvers seemingly grabbed a point for the away side.

Haynes had other ideas though and he came off the bench to snatch the winning goal, arriving right on cue at the back stick to convert Hoskins’ cross and ensure Town got their season up and running with three points.

It was not completely convincing but a victory on the opening day of the season can never be sniffed at and the early signs suggest this will be a very different Cobblers team from the low-scoring, miserly one we saw last term.

Jon Brady handed full debuts to Lee Burge, Sam Sherring and Danny Hylton while Tyler Magloire came straight in for his second Cobblers debut after rejoining the club on Thursday. Three other summer signings – Akin Odimayo, Kieron Bowie and Ben Fox – missed out with injury, leaving Town light on the bench.

There was not much between the teams in a cagey start but Cobblers did go close to a 10th-minute opener when Jon Guthrie’s header from a Sam Hoskins corner had to be clawed away by Sam Hornby, with the follow-up effort scrambled away.

The home side had a prett firm grip on proceedings but Colchester’s first attack of the game almost yeilded the breakthrough with Luke Hannant’s well-struck shot having to be tipped over the crossbar by Burge on 15 minutes.

Northampton remained on top though and after Louis Appere’s snapshot was blocked, they went in front through some outstanding play by Hylton on 27 minutes. His sublime touch and pass set away Hoskins who finished emphatically to get Cobblers up and running.

Town did lose a bit of control after going ahead and they were pegged back before the break. United’s equaliser was a controversial one as Noah Chilvers seemed to go to ground far too easily but the referee saw enough to give a penalty and Sears just about converted despite a big hand from Burge.

The opening stages of the second-half reverted back to the pattern of the first 20 minutes with Cobblers controlling possession and Colchester happy to sit off and cause problems on the counter-attack.

The game had something of an edge to it and that suited the visitors more than it did the home side, who were guilty of somewhat losing their focus and being dragged into a scrap.

But, almost out of nothing, the officials awarded another contentious penalty, this time for handball against Cameron Coxe, and Hoskins ruthlessly converted, slamming into the bottom corner, to restore Town’s advantage with only 16 minutes to play.

It took Colchester just four minutes to hit back though as excellent work by substitute Frank Nouble down the left was finished off by Chilvers in the penalty box and that appeared to be sufficient to come away from Sixfields with a point.

But the drama was not done there as Cobblers struck in the final minute of normal time. After scoring two himself, Hoskins turned creator with some fine work down the right side, wriggling away from a defender and sending in a low cross and there was Haynes arriving right on cue to score.

Remarkably, Colchester still had enough time to carve out one glorious opportunity to equalise for a third time and snatch a point, but Chilvers was brilliant denied by Burge with virtually the last action of the game.

Cobblers: Burge, Magloire (Lintott 86), Guthrie ©, Sherring, Koiki, McWilliams, Sowerby, Hoskins, Pinnock (Leonard 90), Appere (Haynes 79), Hylton.

Subs not used: Maxted, Dyche, Cross, Abimbola

Colchester: Hornby, Clampin (Coxe 69), Chambers ©, Hannant (Newby 90), Skuse, Eastman, Chilvers, Judge (Cooper 90), Sears, Tchamadeu, Akinde (Nouble 69)

Subs not used: Dallison, Miranda, Collins

Referee: Martin Woods

Attendance: 5,463

Colchester fans: 494