Richards strikes as Cobblers leave it late again

Marc Richards scores with an overhead kick to earn Cobblers a 1-0 win over Exeter (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Marc Richards scores with an overhead kick to earn Cobblers a 1-0 win over Exeter (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Marc Richards scored his second goal of the season as the Cobblers left it late once again, this time to beat Exeter City at Sixfields.

Richards netted an overhead kick to seal a 1-0 win for Town, the third goal they have scored in the final minute of a game in three of the past four league matches.

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170341009

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170341009

It was the number nine himself who snatched a share of the points with a free-kick at York City and Emile Sinclair who did so against Shrewsbury last weekend.

It was probably the right result but Exeter contributed to a game of few chances and one that was settled right at the end.

Sinclair was given his first league start of the season and almost scored within five minutes of it starting when he made first contact with a Chris Hackett cross only to see it squirm towards Richards at the back post.

His shot, and that on the follow-up by Joel Byrom, were both blocked, as the Cobblers made a positive start to the game.

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170436009

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170436009

They did not score during their initial good period, though, and Zander Diamond was required to make a good challenge on Graham Cummins and Liam Sercombe tested Matt Duke’s powers of concentration with a long-range shot which was well held.

Exeter deserve some credit for nullifying the Town threat - by dropping deeper they restricted the space in behind for Hackett to exploit and it great limited their attacking potency.

Ivan Toney was introduced shortly after the half-time interval and came close to providing the game’s first goal when he hooked Kaid Mohamed’s header towards the target, only for the ball to rebound off the crossbar and down to safety.

The teenager then produced a superb turn to beat two defenders but drilled his shot straight at Exeter keeper Christy Pym as he advanced off his line.

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-160110009

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-160110009

Toney was feeling confident enough to nutmeg Scott Bennett down the left wing and supply a cross that Mohamed met only to see his shot smothered by a covering tackle.

It was hit pass into Hackett that gave the winger a shooting chance but Pym was equal to it with a two-handed save around his right-hand post.

Exeter were a force in the game throughout and will be furious that they conceded so late in the game after such a competitive 89 minutes.

It was a goal reminiscent of the Cobblers under Aidy Boothroyd, first Diamond and then Toney flicking on a long Ben Tozer throw, and Richards producing an acrobat finish to power it past Pym from no more than eight yards.

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170425009

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170425009

Cobblers: Duke, Tozer, Diamond, Collins, Robertson; Hackett, O’Toole, Byrom, Mohamed; Sinclair, Richards

Subs: D’Ath (for Collins 31), Toney (for Sinclair 49), Ravenhill (for O’Toole 78)

Not used: Nicholls, Moyo, Archer, Roberts

Exeter City: Pym, Wheeler, Bennett, Baldwin, Woodman, Davies; Sercombe, Oakley, Grimes; Jay, Cummins

Subs: Keohane (for Jay 62), Dawson (for Wheeler 74)

Not used: Hamon, Riley-Lowe, Tillson, Pope, Watkins

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170447009

Northampton Town V Exeter City. NNL-140830-170447009

Attendance: 4,053

Away fans: 213

Referee: Michael Bull