Woeful Cobblers slide deeper into relegation trouble as they slump to dismal Wigan defeat

Cobblers slipped deeper into trouble at the bottom of League One with a 1-0 defeat to relegation rivals Wigan Athletic after an atrocious performance on Tuesday evening.
Bryn Morris gets a pass away during the Cobblers' 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night (Pictures: Pete Norton)Bryn Morris gets a pass away during the Cobblers' 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night (Pictures: Pete Norton)
Bryn Morris gets a pass away during the Cobblers' 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night (Pictures: Pete Norton)

If Saturday's goalless draw at Accrington Stanley offered some encouragement, this did the exact opposite.

Up against a team in poor form and missing key players, Town were completely devoid of quality and any attacking impetus on a desperate, desperate night at the PTS.

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Some had built this game up as Northampton's most important of the season so far but you wouldn't have guessed so from their desperately poor first-half performance.

Fraser Horsfall battles for the ballFraser Horsfall battles for the ball
Fraser Horsfall battles for the ball

It got no better in the second and a defensive mistake eight minutes from time compounded their misery with Callum Lang making no mistake to hand Wigan just their second win in 10 matches.

Cobblers are now 23rd in League One and will make an all-too swift return to League Two if they do not improve massively on the 90 minutes they served up on Tuesday.

Keith Curle picked the same team that drew at Accrington Stanley on Saturday but his side were fortunate not to be behind after just two minutes with Jonathan Mitchell saving from Will Keane before Thelo Aasgaard's follow-up hit his own player and deflected wide.

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Jack Sowerby and Ryan Edmondson had half chances but Cobblers were way below par throughout the opening half and struggled to impose themselves on their equally out-of-form visitors.

George Johnston and Peter Kioso exchanged half chances, both from corners, but a woefully flat first-half ended goalless.

Curle made his feelings known at half-time by making a double substitution as Ryan Watson and Bryn Morris replaced Jack Sowerby and Shaun McWilliams.

But that did not lead to an improvement in the second period when, if anything, the standard slipped yet further as both teams struggled badly.

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Cobblers were overrun in midfield and invariably chose to lump aimless long balls forward, giving Edmondson and Danny Rose up front nothing to go on.

The game looked set to end goalless such was the laboured, limp nature of both teams' performance, but things then got even worse for the Cobblers.

A mistake from Cian Bolger allowed Lang to get through on goal and he kept his cool to slot past Mitchell.

Town had eight minutes, plus an extra seven of stoppage-time, to salvage something out of the game but they never once looked like doing so and suffered a bad defeat.

Match facts

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Cobblers: Mitchell, Jones, Bolger (c) (Chukwuemeka 85), Horsfall, Kioso, Mills (Korboa 67), McWilliams (Morris 45), Sowerby (Watson 45), Hoskins, Rose, Edmondson (Ashley-Seal 67)

Subs not used: Arnold, Harriman

Wigan: Jones, Darikwa, Wootton, Tilt, Johnston, Robinson, Ojo, Merrie, Keane (Doodoo 88), Aasgaard (Solomon-Otabor 76), Lang (Whelan 90)

Subs not used: Evans, Perry, Gardner, Clough

Referee: Marc Edwards