Unbeaten run ends

Mark Vickery
Sep 14 · 16 min read

Report from Mark Vickery at Sixfields

Northampton Town 2 (Williams 5, Hoskins 72)

Newport County 0

Attendance: 4,616

Form:

Newport County DdWWdWLWLW

Northampton Town DLLWLWWLLW

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
Northampton have improved in recent weeks and having beaten Plymouth at home, expect them to throw the kitchen sink. Key County stifle their threats and pick their battles.

CONDITIONS
Warm sunny and light breeze . Pitch in excellent condition.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Never really built any sustained momentum and despite better spell after half time lacked cutting edge.

TURNING POINT
Early goal gave Northampton platform but second goal made game safe.

THE MATCH
County made just one change with Danny McNamara returning from international duty forcing Daniel Leadbetter to the bench. County started well pressing in the final third but Northampton made their intentions clear from start with Abrahams going down under a heavy early challenge by McWilliams inside the first minute. County had the ball in the net on 2 minutes when Willmott whipped over a decent cross from the right side and Labadie rose to head into the left corner from 10 yards but he was adjudged to be offside. On 5 minutes, Northampton took the lead following a set piece which County cleared but were slow to close down the initial shot by Turnbull inside the box. Williams seized upon the rebound with a shot on the turn from 12 yards from left side of the area which appeared to take King by surprise and despite O’Brien on the line he couldn’t keep the ball out. County responded with some disjointed pressure with Northampton working hard to close down forcing goalkeeper King into some rushed clearances. County were forced to play long on times with Abrahams doing his best to retain possession but Northampton centre Goode and Wharton were uncompromising in the challenge. Abrahams continued to be on the end of one or two challenges but with no decision forthcoming, it allowed Northampton to sweep forward when invited with Adams pivotal right side. Northampton gained a couple of corners largely from breaks from deep with County slow to get back into position. On 20 minutes, County had a warning when Harriman took a corner from the right side which Hoskins managed to sneak back post to head downwards but King was alert claiming well. County were more effective when they played Northampton at their own pushing on in behind to attack the corners. County upped the tempo on the ball for a time, forcing Northampton in several loose clearances and worked a couple of decent moves left side but the crosses from Haynes were claimed by the keeper. Northampton were happy to play direct to relieve pressure with Williams the main outlet. When they made the ball stick, Northampton were effective but they continued to be erratic in possession and there were option for County to capitalise. On 35 minutes, a better County move saw Willmott do well to switch play through the middle using Sheehan and he threaded a good ball to Labadie left side of the area and Turnbull catch him late low down. Turnbull was booked and Willmott delivered a decent delivery from the free kick which Labadie read well at the front post but his header went wide of the left post. The game continued to be littered with several free kicks as half time approached with referee slow to pick up on persistent fouling and having several discussions about the rules. This did little to help the flow of the game and it threatened to turn into a damp squib as half time approached with neither side showing any quality in the final third and McWilliams riding a few decisions with tackles in the heart of midfield

County raised their game for short spell after half time with some better moves across the face of the area but they were struggling to work Northampton keeper Connell. On 50 minutes, a decent move saw County switch play from left to right and Labadie did well on the right side of the area to drive past Martin and cut back a decent cross to Abrahams just inside the area but his low effort was blocked by Goode. County were quicker to put in crosses especially from the right side from Willmott but Northampton remained stubborn dealing with aerial duals well. McWilliams was forced off on 53 minutes and replaced by Kaja. Northampton were keen to push high up the pitch with both full backs influential to sweep up possession with Martin more prominent left side than Harriman on the opposite flank. County had option to counter this but were slow to get balls forward, often allowing Northampton to recover. On 60 minutes, County were given another warning when some lax marking allowed Adams to roam down the left side of the area and cut back a cross from a tight position. Turnbull was quick to read to ball as it fizzed across the face of the area but O’Brien did well to divert the shot wide of the left post. County made a double substitution on 63 minutes to pep up their approach final third with Dolan replaced in midfield for Whitely and Matt replacing Amond as County switched to 4–3–3. County made efforts to push on with Whitley making some forceful runs but there was vulnerability when County lost possession cheaply running into dead ends. Northampton remained the more decisive team forcing County to defend crosses from the left side. On 72 minutes, County were forced deep but a tired clearance by McNamara on the right side when short and was lapped up by Goode in the centre circle. He was then invited to carry his run too easily through the middle and with County defence backing off he slipped a pass down the right side of the area for Lines. His cross was precise finding the late run into the area by Hoskins who slotted home from 8 yards. County made another change on 75 minutes with new signing from Crawley Town Dominic Poleon replacing Danny McNamara. On 80 minutes, Northampton made a change with Smith offering more direct option to replace Williams who bizarrely made a point of shaking the referees hand before he left the pitch. County were committed to pushing on but with McNamara off the pitch they was even more room to exploit left side with Adams continuing to cause problems. On 82 minutes, County cheaply lost possession attacking the right side and Martin played a quick to release the run of Adams on the left wing. He cut inside and with County stretched his pass invited Kaja to shoot from the right side of the box but he dragged his effort wide of the left post. County made efforts to force Northampton deeper and some frustration crept into their game when Poleon was penalised for honest challenge down the right side of the box on centre back Goode who went down meekly. Matt was then booked for contesting the decision with the referee. Northampton had a chance of a third on 89 minutes from another break when they launched a ball into Smith who glanced into the patch of Warburton who directed a low shot wide of the left post from an acute angle. County then had Matt sent off for an innocuous looking challenge as he tangled with Wharton. Northampton were happy to keep possession in the five minutes of injury time working the ball around with ease. County were a spent force at the end but got a warm applause as their unbeaten run in the league since March finally ended.

King (6) — put under pressure from back passes and kicking was a little erratic. Did well to claim crosses when he had was reluctant to get ball moving quick from the back on times.

McNamara (5) — was forced back for large spells containing Adams and provided little ammunition. Distribution lacked usual quality and was put under pressure in the aerial duals.

Haynes (6) — played quite reserved today, defended well in general and quick to deny Harriman final third when he had to but many crosses lack bite to trouble keeper.

O’Brien (7) — by far the most composed defender, did well in aerial duals and came across from his position to thwart several threatening moves and cleared effectively.

Howkins (6) — was competent in the air but some of the headers to clear were untidy. Did a reasonable job stopping Williams despite not always winning the first ball.

Labadie (6) — when he got on the ball he was effective but got bogged down on times losing possession cheaply. Had the best of the very few chances today and should have scored.

Dolan (5) — never really asserted his game, lost too many of his battles with McWilliams playing back to goal too often to effect game. Set pieces were restricted

Willmott (6) — had a bright start to the game and provided some inviting crosses but let down by short passes and became increasingly indecisive. Needs to get more shots on goal

Sheehan (5) — started well and did a lot of running box to box but threat was squashed quickly and found space at premium. Kept at arms length and threat in final third was minimal

Abrahams (6) — did his best to work openings and pull off his marker but left too isolated for large part of the first half. Had chances to shoot today in and around box but dwelled in some good situations

Amond (6) — playing deeper never really got in positions to hurt and did better early in second half carrying his runs either side of the area and late at the back post but never picked out.

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths — full backs were pivotal pressing high up the pitch to overlap. Centre backs were strong defending set pieces and they kept discipline well. Worked good moves in transition.

Weaknesses — struggled to put five passes together on times and centre back were error prone when pressed. Gambled flooding men forward and got let off several times with County indecisive.

Opportunities — were quick to shift ball forward and get men forward in support to work the corners. Never really changed tact but became more effective playing on break after second goal
Threats — most of direct play went through Williams, Adams was key link and effective spraying passes. Hoskins in and around the box. Both full backs were pivotal in maintain possession.

OFFICIALS
A Young (5) — inconsistency was a continual frustration. Did a lot of warning and talking to first half allowing plenty of leniency and then some late decisions to clamp down were totally inexplicable.

MAN OF THE MATCH
Nicky Adams — best player by far today in a match that lacked quality. Intelligent use of the ball when he had it and knew how to pick holes creating several good chances and crosses were cutting.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County will be more disappointed with the goals they conceded than losing their unbeaten league run. They have made themselves difficult to beat this season but beat themselves up today with poor decision making and some indifference in front of goal. Northampton bullied them in some key areas and County allowing the Northampton full back to press high and suffocate space was always going to mean they were on the backfoot. After conceding early, it was key County stayed in the game and there were signs that they were back on track after half time with a better spell but the second goal was charitable to say the least. County need to put this game behind them and also cast aside all the off the field politics around managers moving into new roles. The next match against Macclesfield is a big game now to show they are unfazed and bounce back with the Exeter and Swindon games on the horizon. Macclesfield have switched between three and four at the back this season but with Matt suspended they are likely to adopt four at the back and look for the sucker punch with Ironside offering mobility up front. County need more edge to their game in transition but this can happen if they take a firmer grip of the midfield proceedings and play it low with more zip in the final third.

Report from Mark Vickery at Sixfields

Northampton Town 2 (Williams 5, Hoskins 72)

Newport County 0

Attendance: 4,616

Form:

Newport County DdWWdWLWLW

Northampton Town DLLWLWWLLW

Unbeaten run ends

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
Northampton have improved in recent weeks and having beaten Plymouth at home, expect them to throw the kitchen sink. Key County stifle their threats and pick their battles.

CONDITIONS
Warm sunny and light breeze . Pitch in excellent condition.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Never really built any sustained momentum and despite better spell after half time lacked cutting edge.

TURNING POINT
Early goal gave Northampton platform but second goal made game safe.

THE MATCH
County made just one change with Danny McNamara returning from international duty forcing Daniel Leadbetter to the bench. County started well pressing in the final third but Northampton made their intentions clear from start with Abrahams going down under a heavy early challenge by McWilliams inside the first minute. County had the ball in the net on 2 minutes when Willmott whipped over a decent cross from the right side and Labadie rose to head into the left corner from 10 yards but he was adjudged to be offside. On 5 minutes, Northampton took the lead following a set piece which County cleared but were slow to close down the initial shot by Turnbull inside the box. Williams seized upon the rebound with a shot on the turn from 12 yards from left side of the area which appeared to take King by surprise and despite O’Brien on the line he couldn’t keep the ball out. County responded with some disjointed pressure with Northampton working hard to close down forcing goalkeeper King into some rushed clearances. County were forced to play long on times with Abrahams doing his best to retain possession but Northampton centre Goode and Wharton were uncompromising in the challenge. Abrahams continued to be on the end of one or two challenges but with no decision forthcoming, it allowed Northampton to sweep forward when invited with Adams pivotal right side. Northampton gained a couple of corners largely from breaks from deep with County slow to get back into position. On 20 minutes, County had a warning when Harriman took a corner from the right side which Hoskins managed to sneak back post to head downwards but King was alert claiming well. County were more effective when they played Northampton at their own pushing on in behind to attack the corners. County upped the tempo on the ball for a time, forcing Northampton in several loose clearances and worked a couple of decent moves left side but the crosses from Haynes were claimed by the keeper. Northampton were happy to play direct to relieve pressure with Williams the main outlet. When they made the ball stick, Northampton were effective but they continued to be erratic in possession and there were option for County to capitalise. On 35 minutes, a better County move saw Willmott do well to switch play through the middle using Sheehan and he threaded a good ball to Labadie left side of the area and Turnbull catch him late low down. Turnbull was booked and Willmott delivered a decent delivery from the free kick which Labadie read well at the front post but his header went wide of the left post. The game continued to be littered with several free kicks as half time approached with referee slow to pick up on persistent fouling and having several discussions about the rules. This did little to help the flow of the game and it threatened to turn into a damp squib as half time approached with neither side showing any quality in the final third and McWilliams riding a few decisions with tackles in the heart of midfield

County raised their game for short spell after half time with some better moves across the face of the area but they were struggling to work Northampton keeper Connell. On 50 minutes, a decent move saw County switch play from left to right and Labadie did well on the right side of the area to drive past Martin and cut back a decent cross to Abrahams just inside the area but his low effort was blocked by Goode. County were quicker to put in crosses especially from the right side from Willmott but Northampton remained stubborn dealing with aerial duals well. McWilliams was forced off on 53 minutes and replaced by Kaja. Northampton were keen to push high up the pitch with both full backs influential to sweep up possession with Martin more prominent left side than Harriman on the opposite flank. County had option to counter this but were slow to get balls forward, often allowing Northampton to recover. On 60 minutes, County were given another warning when some lax marking allowed Adams to roam down the left side of the area and cut back a cross from a tight position. Turnbull was quick to read to ball as it fizzed across the face of the area but O’Brien did well to divert the shot wide of the left post. County made a double substitution on 63 minutes to pep up their approach final third with Dolan replaced in midfield for Whitely and Matt replacing Amond as County switched to 4–3–3. County made efforts to push on with Whitley making some forceful runs but there was vulnerability when County lost possession cheaply running into dead ends. Northampton remained the more decisive team forcing County to defend crosses from the left side. On 72 minutes, County were forced deep but a tired clearance by McNamara on the right side when short and was lapped up by Goode in the centre circle. He was then invited to carry his run too easily through the middle and with County defence backing off he slipped a pass down the right side of the area for Lines. His cross was precise finding the late run into the area by Hoskins who slotted home from 8 yards. County made another change on 75 minutes with new signing from Crawley Town Dominic Poleon replacing Danny McNamara. On 80 minutes, Northampton made a change with Smith offering more direct option to replace Williams who bizarrely made a point of shaking the referees hand before he left the pitch. County were committed to pushing on but with McNamara off the pitch they was even more room to exploit left side with Adams continuing to cause problems. On 82 minutes, County cheaply lost possession attacking the right side and Martin played a quick to release the run of Adams on the left wing. He cut inside and with County stretched his pass invited Kaja to shoot from the right side of the box but he dragged his effort wide of the left post. County made efforts to force Northampton deeper and some frustration crept into their game when Poleon was penalised for honest challenge down the right side of the box on centre back Goode who went down meekly. Matt was then booked for contesting the decision with the referee. Northampton had a chance of a third on 89 minutes from another break when they launched a ball into Smith who glanced into the patch of Warburton who directed a low shot wide of the left post from an acute angle. County then had Matt sent off for an innocuous looking challenge as he tangled with Wharton. Northampton were happy to keep possession in the five minutes of injury time working the ball around with ease. County were a spent force at the end but got a warm applause as their unbeaten run in the league since March finally ended.

King (6) — put under pressure from back passes and kicking was a little erratic. Did well to claim crosses when he had was reluctant to get ball moving quick from the back on times.

McNamara (5) — was forced back for large spells containing Adams and provided little ammunition. Distribution lacked usual quality and was put under pressure in the aerial duals.

Haynes (6) — played quite reserved today, defended well in general and quick to deny Harriman final third when he had to but many crosses lack bite to trouble keeper.

O’Brien (7) — by far the most composed defender, did well in aerial duals and came across from his position to thwart several threatening moves and cleared effectively.

Howkins (6) — was competent in the air but some of the headers to clear were untidy. Did a reasonable job stopping Williams despite not always winning the first ball.

Labadie (6) — when he got on the ball he was effective but got bogged down on times losing possession cheaply. Had the best of the very few chances today and should have scored.

Dolan (5) — never really asserted his game, lost too many of his battles with McWilliams playing back to goal too often to effect game. Set pieces were restricted

Willmott (6) — had a bright start to the game and provided some inviting crosses but let down by short passes and became increasingly indecisive. Needs to get more shots on goal

Sheehan (5) — started well and did a lot of running box to box but threat was squashed quickly and found space at premium. Kept at arms length and threat in final third was minimal

Abrahams (6) — did his best to work openings and pull off his marker but left too isolated for large part of the first half. Had chances to shoot today in and around box but dwelled in some good situations

Amond (6) — playing deeper never really got in positions to hurt and did better early in second half carrying his runs either side of the area and late at the back post but never picked out.

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths — full backs were pivotal pressing high up the pitch to overlap. Centre backs were strong defending set pieces and they kept discipline well. Worked good moves in transition.

Weaknesses — struggled to put five passes together on times and centre back were error prone when pressed. Gambled flooding men forward and got let off several times with County indecisive.

Opportunities — were quick to shift ball forward and get men forward in support to work the corners. Never really changed tact but became more effective playing on break after second goal
Threats — most of direct play went through Williams, Adams was key link and effective spraying passes. Hoskins in and around the box. Both full backs were pivotal in maintain possession.

OFFICIALS
A Young (5) — inconsistency was a continual frustration. Did a lot of warning and talking to first half allowing plenty of leniency and then some late decisions to clamp down were totally inexplicable.

MAN OF THE MATCH
Nicky Adams — best player by far today in a match that lacked quality. Intelligent use of the ball when he had it and knew how to pick holes creating several good chances and crosses were cutting.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County will be more disappointed with the goals they conceded than losing their unbeaten league run. They have made themselves difficult to beat this season but beat themselves up today with poor decision making and some indifference in front of goal. Northampton bullied them in some key areas and County allowing the Northampton full back to press high and suffocate space was always going to mean they were on the backfoot. After conceding early, it was key County stayed in the game and there were signs that they were back on track after half time with a better spell but the second goal was charitable to say the least. County need to put this game behind them and also cast aside all the off the field politics around managers moving into new roles. The next match against Macclesfield is a big game now to show they are unfazed and bounce back with the Exeter and Swindon games on the horizon. Macclesfield have switched between three and four at the back this season but with Matt suspended they are likely to adopt four at the back and look for the sucker punch with Ironside offering mobility up front. County need more edge to their game in transition but this can happen if they take a firmer grip of the midfield proceedings and play with more zip in the final third

Mark Vickery

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