Morton's debut goal the difference as Cobblers march on with Macc victory

Cobblers became the first team since August to win a league game away at Macclesfield Town when Callum Morton scored his first ever EFL goal during a scrappy but priceless 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 6:13 pm
Callum Morton challenges for a header on his first Cobblers start. Picture: Pete Norton

This game is unlikely to feature prominently on the end-of-season highlights reel but Cobblers were good value for their win having dominated most of the game, and it was a wonderful moment for 20-year-old Morton to grab the winner, poking in from close-range with 59 minutes gone.

An underwhelming first-half was severely short on excitement and quality and while the second 45 minutes hardly improved, Town will quite happily return home with all three points in the bag, keeping their unbeaten start to 2020 very much intact.

Cobblers are up a place to fifth - the highest they've been all season - and now sit just three points behind second-placed Crewe Alexandra.

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Michael Harriman and James Olayinka missed out with injuries picked up against Scunthorpe United in midweek as Keith Curle handed full debuts to three of his four new signings.

Lloyd Jones slotted straight into Town's three-man defence a day after signing, Morton started up front alongside Vadaine Oliver and Mark Marshall was at wing-back, which pushed Sam Hoskins into a central role.

Hoskins was lively in the opening exchanges and forced a couple of early stops out of home goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell, who saved easily from range before getting down to keep out another low effort.

Macclesfield's first real attack, 16 minutes in, was so close to yielding the opening goal with Connor Kirby's effort seemingly destined for the net until it was brilliantly repelled by Charlie Goode's last-ditch block.

Arthur Gnahoua's powerful free-kick was also well held by David Cornell but a promising start to the first-half fizzled out and there was very little to get excited about for either set of supporters as their teams toiled in windy conditions and on a difficult surface.

There was no notable improvement in the second-half and whilst Town were the team looking more likely to score, their opening goal bang on the hour-mark was somewhat out of the blue.

It was a great moment for young Morton though as he managed to force the ball home for his first goal in league football after Goode headed a corner towards goal.

Immediately Macc played with more urgency and Cornell was forced to make a rare save when flying away to gather Gnahoua's header.

Hoskins couldn't force in a cross and Morton shot waywardly over while Ryan Watson had a shot saved late on but a second goal was never likely to be required against a toothless Macc attack, who were easily kept at bay.

Macclesfield: Mitchell, Kelleher, Hamblin, Gnahoua, Stephens (Cameron 45), Kirby (Rose 73), Horsfall, O'Keeffe, Whitehead (Blyth 84), Fitzpatrick, Ironside

Subs not used: Charles-Cook

Cobblers: Cornell, Goode (c), Jones, Martin, Lines, Watson, Marshall, Adams, Hoskins, Morton (Williams 82), Oliver

Subs not used: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Pollock, Warburton, Anderson, Roberts

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 1,712

Cobblers fans: 475