Frustration for Cobblers as Kennedy strike salvages a point for Stevenage

Dean Bowditch celebrates after firing the Cobblers ahead (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Dean Bowditch celebrates after firing the Cobblers ahead (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Cobblers extended their unbeaten home run to eight games but will rue two points dropped after Ben Kennedy struck late for Stevenage on an utterly miserable afternoon at the PTS Stadium.

The home side led through Dean Bowditch’s first Cobblers goal in over 10 years - going back to his first loan spell at the club - but Kennedy capitalised on an unfortunate defensive clearance to level for Stevenage and keep Town 14th in League Two, seven points away from the play-offs.

Bowditch’s goal came right at the end of a first-half that was edged by Northampton, but they didn’t have the same control in the second and allowed Stevenage back into the contest, with Kennedy eventually firing home to ensure the visitors didn’t leave empty-handed.

Daniel Powell replaced Sam Hoskins in the only change from the team that beat Crawley last weekend as Curle again opted for three at the back.

Both teams had to contend with driving wind, persistent rain and freezing temperatures from kick-off and those conditions contributed to a slow, error-strewn start that was short on goalmouth incident.

It was just shy of the 20-minute mark when the game’s first clear chance arrived, and it fell to the Cobblers as Powell ballooned over from 10 yards having been set up by Kevin van Veen and Shay Facey.

Dean Bowditch scores

Dean Bowditch scores

David Buchanan and Bowditch were both off target with long-range attempts as Town began to take the upper-hand against a Stevenage side who were happy to sit back and take the sting out of the game by wasting time at every opportunity.

But the visitors were coming under increasing pressure and after seeing a second effort block, it was third time lucky for Bowditch on the stroke of half-time.

In the first of two added minutes, Powell worked his way to the byline and stood up a high cross to the far post where Bowditch took a touch and shot beyond Paul Farman.

Sam Hoskins came on for Ash Taylor at the break and moved to wing-back, Facey going to centre-back, and Bowditch was close to a second five minutes after the restart when drilling wide of the far post.

There was now more urgency in Stevenage’s play and their best opportunity arrived just short of the hour-mark when former Cobbler Joel Byrom saw his shot blocked.

The conditions worsened as the half progressed and the slippery pitch had a significant say in the equalising goal 15 minutes from time.

Coming out to clear, David Cornell slipped at the crucial moment and kicked straight to Kennedy who took his time before firing over the stranded home goalkeeper to level.

Despite three points being up for grabs, neither side truly posed a threat in the remaining time and both had to be content with a point as the game disappointingly fizzled out.

Match facts

Cobblers: Cornell, Turnbull, Taylor (Hoskins 45), Pierre, Facey, Buchanan (c), Foley, McWilliams, Bowditch (Odoffin 73), Powell (Crooks 65), van Veen.

Subs not used: Coddington, Waters, Morias, Williams.

Stevenage: Farman, Wildon, Hunt (Sonupe 70), Timlin (Ball 90), Cuthbert, Byrom, Seddon, Henry (c), Guthrie, Kennedy, Revell (Newton 70)

Subs not used: Appleyard. Vancooten, Reid, Nugent

Referee: Chris Sarginson

Attendance: 4,756

Stevenage fans: 340