Injury-ravaged Cobblers claim point at Portsmouth

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A hugely understrength Cobblers side procured a vital point from a goalless draw at Portsmouth.

Town completed 2013 with a stalemate at Fratton Park in what was Andy King’s second game as caretaker boss.

Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Duke is first to the ball at Fratton Park

Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Duke is first to the ball at Fratton Park

It means they remain bottom of Sky Bet League Two but there were encouragings signs in the match, in which they lost a fifth striker to injury in Luke Norris.

A side already ravaged by injury was depleted further by the loss of Roy O’Donovan to an ankle problem, a situation that forced two youth-team players, Ben Heath and Connor Roberts, onto the bench.

Their start was a nervous one, with Ricky Holmes finding space down the left wing to supply a cross that narrowly evaded everyone in the box.

The man on the opposite flank, Jed Wallace, had the first good chance of the game, rattling Matt Duke’s bar with a lobbed effort after a neat turn at the end of a turgid bout of head tennis.

No Caption ABCDE

No Caption ABCDE

Town hit the woodwork themselves on the 25-minute mark when a long Ben Tozer throw beat the goalkeeper, bounced and then rebounded to safety off the top of the woodwork.

There were regular occurrences of good play from Northampton in the second half too.

Home keeper Carson was concerned when Lee Collins headed a Chris Hackett corner goalwards, palming the ball away to safety under pressure from substitute David Moyo.

Matty Harriott, on a rare start, let fly with a strong shot as Town built up a decent bit of pressure midway through the second period, Carson calmly saving to his left.

Agyemang managed to get a shot away'Portsmouth V Northampton'Sky Bet_League Two'Fratton Park'29/12/13 1500 GMT

Agyemang managed to get a shot away'Portsmouth V Northampton'Sky Bet_League Two'Fratton Park'29/12/13 1500 GMT

Portsmouth pressed hard to find a winner as the game went on but Duke had very little in the way of meaningful saves to make.

In the final few minutes, Ishmel Demontagnac sprayed a perfect pass in behind the home defence for Moyo to run onto.

The substitute striker appeared to have eluded Sonny Bradley but went to ground amid a tangle of limbs and strong appeals for a foul.

The contact was outside of the box but would have given Town a good shooting opportunity but referee Gavin Ward waved away the protests.

Bradley makes a challenges on Hackett'Portsmouth V Northampton'Sky Bet_League Two'Fratton Park'29/12/13 1500 GMT

Bradley makes a challenges on Hackett'Portsmouth V Northampton'Sky Bet_League Two'Fratton Park'29/12/13 1500 GMT

Moments later, he blew for full-time.

Portsmouth: Carson, East, Devera, Bradley, Painter, Wallace, Padovani, Racon, Ertl, Holmes, Agyemang

Subs: Bird (for Agyemang 75), N’Gala (for East 80), Connolly (for Ertl 85)

Not used: Sullivan, Harris, Maloney, Whatmough

Cobblers: Duke, Amankwaah, Reid, Collins, Widdowson, Hackett, Harriott, Tozer, Deegan, Emerton, Norris

Subs: Moyo (for Norris 38), Demontagnac (for Emerton 85)

Not used: B Heath, Hooper, M Heath, Toney, Roberts

Attendance: 15,426

Cobblers fans: 728