Jefferson Lake’s Cheltenham v Cobblers view and player ratings: Town still in control of destiny

Cheltenham celebrate their winner at Whaddon Road (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Cheltenham celebrate their winner at Whaddon Road (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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The Cobblers’ top-three status just about survived a tumultuous Easter Monday fixture programme - but it really was skin-of-the-teeth stuff.

Town deserved to take something from their game at Cheltenham and Aidy Boothroyd’s assessment that this was one of his side’s better away performances of the season was a fair one.

The goal they conceded was a horrible one which will have given the manager nightmares. Concentration was lost initially and then reactions were not sharp enough to deal with the danger. Must do better.

The response, though, was good. Scott Brown was in inspired form in the Cheltenham goal and kept out two notable Roy O’Donovan efforts and one from Chris Hackett.

Those two, and left-winger Ishmel Demontagnac were Northampton’s three best outfield players and their performances illustrated a more multi-dimensional Cobblers attack.

The set-piece play for which the team has become renowned by neutralised by a combination of the home side’s defensive strength and the referee’s continual punishing of Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Repelled there, they put into operation a system that placed an enormous emphasis on the wide creators, who might have done better with their final ball at times but enjoyed decent enough games.

Of course, all of that was proved irrelevant by events elsewhere. It’s that time of the season where the results of rivals are every bit as important as those of your own team and on Monday, Northampton dodged a significant league two bullet.

They could have been heavily punished for losing at Cheltenham but were not. They could have slipped out of the top three but did not.

Almost a thousand supporters travelled to Whaddon Road to witness the 1-0 loss and after the game every single one of them would have toasted James Beattie, whose late goal for Accrington pegged Burton Albion back to a 3-3 draw.

As a result, the Cobblers remain in the automatic promotion places and - just about - retain control of their destiny.

Prior to the Cheltenham game it was a case of ‘win the rest, and you’re up’ and, by a huge slice of Beattie-shaped fortune, the same can be said again.

But they can’t afford to take many more risks and they almost certainly won’t get away with a defeat against Bradford City this weekend.


Barely put a foot wrong and did well to keep out Elliott’s first effort when horribly exposed by his defenders ...7


Got through an enormous amount of work in the second half and spent most of it on the attack from full-back ...6


Another dominant display and marshalled an offside trap that continually caught Harrison out ...8


Acquitted himself well at centre-back and his clearances almost always stayed in play ...7


Another booking to add to his collection for the season but that did nothing to stifle his aggression ...6


Really turned on the style in the second half and was unlucky not to get himself on the scoresheet ...8


Probably the quietest midfield performer but stuck to his task manfully against the talented Carter ...6


Limited run-up space diluted the threat of the throw and passing was a little up and down ...6


Played with an explosive unpredictability and fizzed in two or three crosses that should have led to goals ...8


Found himself in foul trouble once more and struggle to provide the link between midfield and attack ...6


Another performance that was full of running and a sliver of quality; should have got himself a goal ...7


LUKE GUTTRIDGE (for Widdowson, 84mins)

Not used: Snedker, Cameron, Platt, Robinson, Hornby, Dias