Norris strikes again as Cobblers salvage point

Jason Taylor has words with Ishmel Demontagnac during the Cobblers' 1-1 draw with Cheltenham (pictures: Kelly Cooper)

Jason Taylor has words with Ishmel Demontagnac during the Cobblers' 1-1 draw with Cheltenham (pictures: Kelly Cooper)

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Luke Norris scored his third goal in three outings as the Cobblers came from behind to salvage a point from a Sixfields draw with Cheltenham.

Norris struck just before half-time to cancel out Byron Harrison’s ninth-minute tap-in for the Robins and ensure honours ended even at 1-1.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

It was a far from convincing performance from Town, for whom Matt Duke made several good saves in a second half that saw Cheltenham play firmly on the front foot.

Not even 10 minutes had passed when the visitors had the lead, Stuart Dallas and Darren Carter looking to one another to win a bouncing ball that was collected by Sido Jombati and played down the right for Sam Deering.

Joe Widdowson did not get close enough to the midfielder, who was able to carry the ball all the way to the byline before picking out Harrison, who had the simple task of sidefooting home.

Rather than sitting on the lead, Cheltenham, perhaps in the knowledge that other teams have often scored against Northampton in short periods of play, got on the front foot.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Harrison diverted a near-post header narrowly wide and then looped another effort into Duke’s hands from a deep cross - between the chances, Town provided very little play of note.

Deering saw a shot from the edge of the box deflected over the bar with 10 minutes of the first half to play but right before the whistle the hosts equalised.

There appeared to be very little danger when the ball was manipulated into a decent position on the edge of the box but David Noble and Keith Lowe got in a dreadful mix-up and presented the ball to Norris in a one-on-one situation.

Ignoring the obvious square pass to Carter, Norris took it around Scott Brown and tucked it away to level up the scores in a match where dubious defending was a consistent theme.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Mathias Doumbe continued it early in the second half with a scuffed clearance that went straight to Jombati, from whose cross Harrison should have added a second but badly fluffed his lines with an acrobatic volley.

As the match progressed and legs tired, more spaced opened up and the Cobblers threw Ian Morris up front alongside Norris with Ben Tozer introduced as the holding midfielder.

Duke then fumbled an aerial ball only for the referee’s whistle to sound fortunately before making a good low save to block a Terry Gornell shot.

Hackett burst clear and skied his eventual effort when a cross might have been a better option and Duke made another good save at the feet of Troy Brown.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

The interceptions were to prove vital because for long periods of the second half, although Town improved, they were still second best and will be glad to have taken a point away with them.

Cobblers: Duke, Collins, Doumbe, Reid, Widdowson, Hackett, Deegan, Carter, Morris, Dallas, Norris

Subs: Tozer (for Deegan 61), Demontagnac (for Norris 82)

Not used: Emerton, McNamara, Toney, Harriott

Cheltenham: Brown, Jombati, Lowe, Brown, Richards, Penn, Deering, Noble, Taylor, Harrison, Gornell

Subs: Cureton (for Noble 75)

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Northampton Town V Cheltenham Town.

Not used: Roberts, Hanks, Kotwica, Braham-Barrett, Williams

Attendance: 4,033

Away fans: 312

Referee: Martin Atkinson