Wharton and Oliver secure another win for in-form Cobblers

The Cobblers made it five wins in six Sky Bet League Two games with a 2-0 success over Grimbsy Town at a rain-soaked PTS Academy Stadium.

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 5:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 5:11 pm
Scott Wharton celebrates (Pictures: Pete Norton)

First half goals from Scott Wharton and Vadaine Oliver secured the three points for Keith Curle's men, who were not at their best but still good enough to beat the managerless Mariners, who are now nine games without a win.

The victory lifts the Cobblers up to fifth in the table, and to within two points of the top three.

Curle named an unchanged starting line-up, sticking with the team that dismantled Crewe Alexandra 4-1 last weekend.

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Vadaine Oliver celebrate scoring the Cobblers' second goal

There was a change on the bench though, with Ryan Watson returning after almost three months out with a broken collarbone.

On a damp and dreary afternoon, it was Grimsby who were quickest out of the blocks, creating a flurry of early opportunities.

After just two minutes an untimely slip from Wharton allowed Jake Hessenthaler a clear run on goal.

It was a two-on-one for the Mariners and Hessenthaler could have passed, but he went for the shot from the right edge of the penalty area and sent the ball fizzing just wide.

Moments later James Hanson, who had far too much time and space in the box, saw a shot blocked by Goode and when the ball was recycled the big no.9 volleyed wide with his left foot from eight yards.

Town had barely been in the game, but on their first attack of note Andy Williams looked to have been cleaned out in the penalty area after cutting inside, but referee Andy Haines saw no offence.

It looked a shocking decision.

With the stunned Cobblers fans giving the referee plenty of stick, Grimsby broke and were only denied an opening goal by a great stop from David Cornell, who kept out Matt Green's strike from eight yards.

Green then came to the Cobblers' rescue, as from the resultant corner, it was the Grimsby man who blocked Luke Waterfall's goalbound strike - the Mariners front man also being flagged for offside.

The Cobblers were gradually getting a foothold on the game, and were causing problems from set-pieces, and on 25 minutes they scored from one of them to take the lead.

Nicky Adams swung in a free-kick fron the right wing and Wharton rose highest at the back post to head home his third goal in two games.

The Cobblers were now starting to dominate possession and create chances, with Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown denying Oliver after a great attacking break by Chris Lines, and then denying Oliver a tap in as he pawed away Charlie Goode's teasing low cross.

Three minutes before the break McKeown was beaten though, as a goalmouth scramble ended on Oliver prodding home from close range for his firts League goal for the club.

So it was advantage Cobblers at the break, but Grimsby had shown enough for Town to know there was plenty of work still to do.

The Cobblers started the second half much better than they had the first, and could have extended their lead on a couple of occasions.

First, Hoskins should have done better than shoot weakly at McKeown after being teed up by the influential Adams, and then Goode glanced a header wide from another pinpoint Adams delivery from a free-kick on the right.

It was the 63rd minute before Grimsby registered an effort on goal in the second half, but it was a good one, Hanson letting fly from 25 yards, but Cornell palmed it away.

They had an even better chance on 72 minutes when a nice free-kick routine ended with the ball falling to an unmarked Elliott Whitehouse six yards out, but he fluffed his lines and sent the ball wide.

The Cobblers knew they had three points in their grasp and went on to control the rest of the game, limiting the Mariners to very little in terms of chances.

Indeed, it was Town who went closest to making it 3-0, with Oliver heading straight at McKeown when well places, and in the dying minutes, Adams chipping just over the top after he had been sent clear by a lovely through ball from substitute Watson.

Match facts

Cobblers: Cornell, Hoskins, Goode, Wharton, Turnbull, Adams, Ljnes, McCormack, Anderson (77m, Watson), Oliver (80m, Pollock), A Williams (67m, Smith). Subs not used: Hall-Johnson, Warburton, Harriman, Arnold.

Grimbsy Town: McKeown, Gibson, David, Waterfall, Green (68m, Ogbu), Hessenthaler, Hanson, Cook (68m Rose) Robson (55m, Whitehouse) , Clifton, Hewitt. Subs not used: Cardwell, Ring, Russell, Starbuck

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 5,211

Grimsby fans: 597