Cobblers hold firm to seal point as rivals slip up

Gregor Robertson heads towards goal during the Cobblers' 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers (pictures: Kelly Cooper)
Gregor Robertson heads towards goal during the Cobblers' 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers (pictures: Kelly Cooper)
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The Cobblers completed their week of home games with a 0-0 draw against Bristol Rovers at Sixfields.

A game of few chances ended goalless to give Town seven points from their week’s work and reduce the gap between themselves and safety to a four-point margin.

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-170041009

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-170041009

Rovers’ David Clarkson had the best chance of the game but it was a contest in which genuine goalmouth action was hard to come by.

Rovers defended the Cobblers’ first real attack well, with Mark McChrystal blocking Chris Hackett’s left-footed shot after the winger had cut inside at the end of an Emile Sinclair-prompted attack.

Sinclair himself created a chance out of nothing on the 15-minute mark when he latched onto a Matt Duke punt and eased McChrystal out of it before flicking his shot straight at Steve Mildenhall.

The visitors enjoyed some good moments and worked an attack to get John-Joe O’Toole in space towards the end of the first half but Darren Carter blocked his shot with a full-blooded challenge.

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-165948009

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-165948009

They made a strong start to the second half, with Ollie Clarke warming Duke’s hands with a stinging shot from distance that was parried away to safety.

Town came into the game moments later, Michael Smith hitting his own post as he tried to intercept a deep Hackett cross.

Rovers, though, should have gone ahead after 63 minutes when substitute Steven Gillespie found space down the right in which to play a low cross to the unmarked Clarkson.

From no more than eight yards, the midfielder saw his shot superbly saved by an instinctive Duke stop.

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-170946009

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-170946009

The corner was delivered into a dangerous area and right onto the head of Tom Parkes, only for Hackett to head the ball off the line.

Substitute John Marquis went on a good run down the inside-left channel that took him all the way to the touchline but his low cross was snuffed out by the defence with Alan Connell nearby.

A Ben Dickenson shot deflected against the post and visiting goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall did well to block Marquis’ follow-up effort.

Marquis had half a chance to win it in the final minute of the game after finding half a yard for a shot at goal but he struck it straight at Mildenhall.

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-171007009

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-171007009

Cobblers: Duke, McSweeney, Diamond, Doumbe, Robertson, Hackett, Ravenhill, Carter, Dickenson, Connell, Sinclair

Subs: Marquis (for Sinclair 66), Morris (for Dickenson 86)

Not used: Tozer, Snedker, Deegan, Toney, German

Bristol Rovers: Mildenhall, Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown, Clarke, Lockyer,Mohamed, O’Toole, Clarkson, Beardsley

Subs: Gillespie (for Beardsley 58), Santos (for Clarkson 78)

Not used: Woodards, Gillespie, Harrison, Harding, Gough, Clucas

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-171017009

Northampton Town FC V Bristol Rovers NNL-140103-171017009

Attendance: 5,058

Away fans: 730