Korboa stars as Cobblers take a point against Wimbledon on the opening day

Matty Warburton's free-kick finds the top corner. Picture: Pete NortonMatty Warburton's free-kick finds the top corner. Picture: Pete Norton
Matty Warburton's free-kick finds the top corner. Picture: Pete Norton
Four goals in first 32 minutes see the spoils shared

Cobblers marked their first game back in League One with an entertaining 2-2 draw against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

A breathless and end-to-end first-half saw Wimbledon twice take the lead, including after just 21 seconds when Ethan Chislett pounced on an error, before they were twice pegged back.

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Matty Warburton's delightful free-kick levelled things following a disastrous start, but Town's new-look back three were having a few teething problems and they were behind again as Nesta Guinness-Walker almost walked it into the net.

Ricky Korboa's first ever league goal made it 2-2 and he was one of the big positives as both sides pushed for a winner without success in the second-half.

Whilst supporters would have loved a win, a draw represents a solid start to life back in League One for Northampton and there were both positives and negatives to come out of their performance.

The back three looked shaky, particularly in the first-half, and will need to improve against better opposition but going forward Korboa and Warburton were both bright while Benny Ashley-Seal showed promising glimpses.

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Ashley-Seal was in for his Cobblers debut and Luka Racic recovered from the knock he picked up in midweek to start, but Sam Hoskins, who made the bench, was the only other injured player to return to the squad as Harry Smith and Joseph Mills joined four others in the treatment room.

Cobblers made the worst possible start and were behind inside 21 seconds. Cian Bolger dallied on the ball outside his own box and Luke O'Neill nipped in before squaring to Chislett who whipped a shot into the bottom corner.

Ashley-Seal volleyed a whisker wide in response but Town had not yet settled into the contest and they continued to look shaky, particularly at the back where Joe Piggott caused real problems.

The hosts were in need of something to settle them down and they got it on 19 minutes. Warburton was fouled just outside the penalty box and he stepped up to send the subsequent free-kick over the wall and into the top corner for a wonderful equaliser.

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But no sooner had they levelled, Town were back behind. The home side had just got away with one when Ryan Longman slashed over but then more lax defending allowed Wimbledon to work the ball into the box as Guinness-Walker collected Piggott's pass and calmly slotted past Arnold.

Shane McLoughlin spurned a superb chance to extend the lead when volleying over, and Cobblers made the most of that let-off on 32 minutes. A ball into the box was not cleared by the visitors and it came back out to Korboa, who brilliantly blasted into the bottom corner.

Cobblers could count themselves a tad fortunate to be on level terms but they ended the first-half on top and could even have taken a lead into the break with Michael Harriman heading off target at the back post.

There were fewer clear-cut chances in the second-half but it was still an open game played at a frenetic pace with both teams looking very capable of scoring the next goal.

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The better chances came for Northampton although none of them were clear-cut with Fraser Horsfall heading over at the back post, Warburton scuffing off target and substitute Sam Hoskins volleying wide.

Racic's defending at the back post prevented Longman from giving Wimbledon the lead for a third time, and despite both sides looking for a winner, they had to make do with an opening-day point.

Cobblers: Arnold, Racic, Bolger (c), Horsfall, Harriman, Marshall, Missilou, Watson, Korboa, Warburton (Chukwuemeka 84), Ashley-Seal (Hoskins 63)

Subs not used: Mitchell, Martin, Lines, Roberts, Johnston

Wimbledon: Tzanev, O'Neill, Woodyard, Thomas, Chislett (Hartigan 75), Guinness-Walker, McLoughlin, Longman (Roscrow 86), Kalabayi, Reilly, Pigott (c)

Subs not used: Csoka, Nightingale, Alexander, Oksanen, Cox

Referee: Ollie Yates

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