Sloppy defending proves costly as Cobblers are held

GOAL - Ian Morris scores the Cobblers' equaliser against Dagenham (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
GOAL - Ian Morris scores the Cobblers' equaliser against Dagenham (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Luke Norris became the third loan player to score on his Cobblers debut this season but his team-mates were held to a draw at home by Dagenham & Redbridge.

Norris, following in the footsteps of Jacob Blyth and Stuart Dallas, notched after 19 minutes but an excellent Zavon Hines goal and Rhys Murphy’s header put the visitors in front.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Ian Morris struck for the first time in Northampton colours to level the contest on the hour mark and although both sides continued to attack, honours ended even in a 2-2 stalemate.

Town lined up in an adventurous 4-3-3 system with Hackett to the right of debutant Norris and fellow Brentford player Stuart Dallas to his left.

Ian Morris was given the holding midfielder assignment previously allocated to Lee Collins, who went to left-back to cover for the injured Joe Widdowson.

It was Gary Deegan who threatened first, executing a copybook volley from a clipped Kevin Amankwaah cross that flew narrowly over the bar from 25 yards.

LUKE WHO'S SCORED - Ian Morris congratulates Luke Norris on his goal against Dagenham (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

LUKE WHO'S SCORED - Ian Morris congratulates Luke Norris on his goal against Dagenham (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Carter then drew a good save from Chris Lewington after finding himself in a shooting position created by the diligence of Norris is pressing his defender.

Hackett maintained the strong start with a fine, low cross that evaded two attacking player before a third, Dallas, skied a shot from a difficult angle after stretching to connect.

The right-winger was a dominant force, albeit not a fully-fit one, and struck the foot of Lewington’s right-hand post with a low free-kick, the defence clearing for a corner.

From said corner, Norris made his mark, swooping to stab home Dallas’ header back into the danger zone from no more than four yards.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

The lead lasted a quarter of an hour before Hines scored an excellent goal that drew applause from the fans in the west stand.

A lucky break down the left wing saw the ball arrive at the feet of Hines, who curled a shot past Duke with almost no backlift that was as good as anything seen at Sixfields this season.

While that goal was down to brilliance on the part of the away side, Dagenham’s second was a direct result of poor defending.

Scott Doe found space for an inswinging cross from right-back that sailed over the Town defence and was headed in by Murphy, who had no play within five yards of him.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

It was enough to dissolve any momentum of confidence the team had built in the game and such spirit did not return until the hour-mark, when Deegan drew a good save from Lewington after being played in by a Carter flick.

Soon after, a quickly-taken free-kick was played to Dallas, who flicked a reverse pass to Morris with the outside of his boot that was perfectly-weighted.

Morris paused briefly to look at his target and then fired a tracer bullet of a left-footed shot that flew past Lewington and into the bottom corner of the net.

Action was limited afterwards, and both teams claimed the point their attacking endeavours deserved.

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

Subs: Demontagnac (for Deegan 72), Toney (for Norris 86)

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Not used: McNamara, Emerton, Tozer, Harriott

Dagenham: Lewington, Doe, Wilkinson, Saah, Ilesanmi, Elito, Howell, Ogogo, Hines, Murphy, Dickson

Subs: Bingham (for Dickson 76), Obamfemi (for Elito 88)

Not used: Scott, Saunders, Dennis, Connors, Seabright

Attendance: 4,046

Away fans: 180

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.

Cobblers V Dagenham and Redbridge.