Northampton Town 3 Macclesfield Town 1 - match review and highlights

Whilst this victory might not make much difference in the grand scheme of things, it still remains important that Northampton finish the season as well as possible so three points against Macclesfield Town on Good Friday were most welcome.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 1:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th April 2019, 1:17 pm
TIDY FINISH: Daniel Powell beats Kieran O'Hara to restore Cobblers' lead. Pictures: Pete Norton

Finishing the season well is important not so much for their points tally or league position but for the vibe around the club. It's been another underwhelming campaign and the last thing the Cobblers need to lose at home to teams battling relegation, though that danger still remains with Yeovil to come next weekend.

The first-half of Friday's encounter followed a familiar pattern as Town's direct approach played into the hands of a robust and physical Macclesfield defence, whose stubborn defiance was breached only by a touch of class.

Dean Bowditch's cushioned volley, turning in Jordan Turnbull's precise clipped cross, hardly belonged in a half of such low quality, although it was not enough for the Cobblers to hold a half-time advantage over their struggling opponents.

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Defending a lead has not been Northampton's forte this season and again they were unable to keep Macclesfield out as an attacking throw-in at one end inexplicably became a goal at the other 20 seconds later.

Cobblers lost possession, Ben Stephens had time and space to send a long ball forward and Harry Smith's 6ft 5in frame somehow eluded the home defence. With David Cornell stranded in no man's land, it was a relatively simple, if well-taken, finish.

Macclesfield deserved to be level on the evidence of a laboured first 45 minutes but whatever Keith Curle said at half-time did the trick as the Cobblers came out with renewed purpose and hunger in the second-half.

They began to get the ball down and string more passes together and it culminated in goalscoring chances. Daniel Powell, a livewire up front, and George Cox, back in the team, were both denied by Kieran O'Hara.

Dean Bowditch volleys home

Powell has been playing with a new lease of life in recent weeks - perhaps motivated by the prospect of being unemployed in a month's time - and he netted his fifth of the season when slotting a composed finish past O'Hara following a misplaced defensive header.

With Macclesfield struggling to get going, Town were seldom troubled and a late third for Junior Morias, reward for his hard-working display, capped their first victory in over a month and kept alive the possibility of a top-half finish this season.

Powell and Bowditch reminded Curle of their attributes but, with both out of contract in the summer, it might be a case of too little too late, especially after Curle had suggested he's already decided who to keep and who to release once the season ends.

Also enjoying a good game, for the second week running, was young Scott Pollock who, backed up by Sam Foley's tenacity, helped Town gain an upper-hand with his range of passing and composure on the ball.

Junior Morias celebrates his fifth goal of the season

Ultimately, beating a mediocre Macclesfield team does not mean much but for a side who've struggled for wins and points in recent times, any victory is one worth celebrating.