Cobblers up to third as Carlisle header sinks Shots

GET IN THERE - Clarke Carlisle heads home the Cobblers' second goal (Pictures: Kelly Cooper)

GET IN THERE - Clarke Carlisle heads home the Cobblers' second goal (Pictures: Kelly Cooper)

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The Cobblers glowed in the snow at Aldershot to record only a third away win of the season but one that puts them third in the npower League Two table.

In bizarre playing conditions, a Chris Hackett penalty and Clarke Carlisle’s first goal of his second spell with the club despatched the Shots on their own ground.

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

The win means Town have overtaken Rotherham, Cheltenham and Exeter City to move into the automatic promotion places, six points behind second-placed Gillingham.

This was a really good game, in which the unique playing conditions generated lots of errors and plenty of goalmouth incident.

After a lengthy deliberation referee Darren Deadman passed the playing surface, which by two hours before kick-off had become a carpet of white, fit for play.

Town took to the field in a 4-5-1 formation with leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa on the bench, Clive Platt operating as the lone striker and former Aldershot man Luke Guttridge as the midfield anchor.

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

The system failed to function immediately, Peter Vincenti sending Adam Mekki free down the right to fire in a low cross that Dani Lopez stabbed home among the snow for the game’s first goal.

Jake Robinson was close to connecting with a Lewis Hornby ball across the goal and Carlisle fired a shot inches wide as Northampton looked to make an instant response.

Robinson then started an excellent move down the left that ended with Joe Widdowson tumbling in the box under a Mekki challenge, only for referee Deadman to wave away appeals for a penalty.

The same combination that provided Aldershot’s first goal should have doubled the home side’s advantage from an almost identical position, but Guttridge recovered to slide in and clear for a corner.

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Penalty appeals were ringing in the referee’s ears again on 20 minutes when Michael Hector inexplicably chose to punch the ball when challenging for a header. This time, it was given, and Hackett buried it.

Minutes later, Hornby intelligently turned his marker and hit a left-footed shot that drifted just wide with the aid of a deflection.

Both teams struggled to find their footing at times so it was no surprise to see Northampton’s second goal come with the ball in the air, Carlisle ramming home a header inside the six-yard box from Hackett’s inswinging corner.

The move had started with a long punt from defence that held up in the snow in Aldershot’s right-back area, Robinson’s industry seeing him get to it first and eventually win the corner.

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

The second half was no less entertaining.

On the hour mark Hackett used his experience to win a free-kick that ended with him rattling off a shot that squirmed wide with the aid of a couple of deflections while Aldershot had their moments at the other end, notably when Danny Rose skimmed an effort narrowly off target.

Hackett almost had a second when he rounded the keeper at the end of a counter-attack only for the shot to be scuffed and Troy Brown to smuggle away a clearance.

Robinson then had a shot blocked that deflected past home keeper Jamie Young but to safety beyond the back post and was closing in on a header from Hackett’s cross when Ben Herd got across him to clear.

A third goal would have made the game’s final stages substantially more comfortable for the travelling supporters, but Aldershot failed to mount a concerted sequence of attacks and the victory was secured.

Facts

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Northampton Town FC V Alder Shot FC

Aldershot: Young, Herd, Bradley, Brown, Morris, Mekki, A Morris, Rose, Hector, Vincenti, Lopez, Reid

Subs: Ainsworth (for Mekki 62), McNamee (for Rose 75), Risser (for Reid 84)

Not used: Rankine, Cadogan, G Morris, Cooksley

Cobblers: Nicholls, Tozer, Langmead, Carlisle, Widdowson, Hackett, Harding, Guttridge, Hornby, Robinson, Platt

Subs: None

Not used: Snedker, Wilson, Turnbull, Moyo, Demontagnac, Artell, Akinfenwa

Attendance: 1,191

Away fans: 142

Referee: Darren Deadman

 

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