Hoskins on target as Cobblers claim sixth straight home win to close in on top three
Sam Hoskins' first-half goal was enough for Cobblers to make it six successive home wins as they battled their way to a 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers at the PTS Academy Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors struck the woodwork three times across the 90 minutes but Hoskins' goal - at least he was the man claiming it - proved sufficient in keeping Town inside the Sky Bet League Two play-off positions and within a point of third place.
An inept refereeing display was the talking point for much of the first-half, but Cobblers helped change that with virtually the last act when Hoskins was on hand to bundle in a corner.
Rovers dominated possession in the second-half and they weren't without chances but Town dug deep and, aided by a touch of fortune, clung on to all three points.
There were two changes to the Cobblers team with Alan McCormack, who missed out as a precaution, replaced by Ryan Watson and Michael Harriman coming in for Andy Williams.
Hoskins played in a more central role and he was involved in an early chance for the hosts as former Town goalkeeper Adam Smith kept out Harriman's header after Paul Anderson pounced on a slip in midfield.
As has become the norm in recent Town matches, the opening stages witnessed plenty of action and Rovers were just as close at the other end, Liam Shephard's shot coming off the post after David Cornell failed to punch a loose ball clear.
Jordan Turnbull and Watson were also off target with shots from the edge of the box before Smith was needed for a second time when saving with his legs to deny Paul Anderson.
Hoskins glanced wide at the subsequent corner but the first-half increasingly became overshadowed by the performance of referee Antony Coggins, who regularly felt the wrath of home supporters with baffling decisions.
But, just as the half looked set to end level, those same fans were off their seats as Town nudged themselves into a timely lead on the stroke of half-time.
Predictably Nicky Adams was the creator as he delivered a wicked corner and the ball was bundled over the line from close quarters, with Hoskins claiming the final touch.
Rovers sought a quick reply at the start of the second-half and Celtic loanee Jack Aitchison was a fraction away from doing so when cracking the crossbar with a 20-yard curler.
The woodwork was shaking for a second time on the hour-mark as Ebou Adams, this time from a much better position, clattered the bar again.
Rovers were finding more space and posing a far greater threat in the second period and Cornell made his first big save of the afternoon with 18 minutes to go when he was down well to thwart Aitchison.
However, Keith Curle's changed helped to stem the tide and Rovers ran out of ideas in the closing stages as Cobblers saw out victory, albeit not without a few scary moments.
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode (c), Turnbull, Wharton, Harriman, Lines (Williams 79), Watson, Anderson (McWilliams 66), Adams, Hoskins, Oliver (Smith 72)
Subs not used: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Martin, Warburton
Forest Green: Smith, Shephard, Bernard, Mills, Winchester, Stevens (Mondal 70), Collins (Frear 57), Adams, Kitching, Mills (c), Aitchison
Subs not used: Wollacott, Rawson, Morton, Dawson, McGinley
Referee: Antony Coggins
Rovers fans: 139