Cobblers sink Steelmen to lift the Maunsell Cup

Steelmen boss Chris Plummer
Steelmen boss Chris Plummer

Northampton Town claimed the NFA Maunsell Cup thanks to two late goals that finished off a spirited Corby Town side at Steel Park.

Chris Plummer’s side produced a decent display, particularly in the second half and fully deserved their equaliser when Nabil Shariff scored the club’s first goal of pre-season.

But the Cobblers, who included a number of trialists, fringe and youth players, did enough to seal it at the death.

The early exchanges were fairly even with Corby holding their own while the visitors enjoyed the vast majority of the possession.

David Moyo shot into the side netting before the Cobblers took the lead when JJ Hooper, fresh from signing a one-year deal before the game, got away from Mark Arber and finished well with a firm strike across Paul Walker and into the far corner.

Hooper saw a header cannon off the bar soon after but the Steelmen gradually grew into the game and almost levelled on the half-hour.

Tom Berwick beat the offside trap and forced a smart save from Dean Snedker with Tyler Reeve finally clearing the danger.

Berwick had another effort blocked and also saw a free-kick deflected away late on in the half while Walker made a decent save from Hooper’s set-piece at the other end.

The second period was fairly low-key with few chances at either end.

But the Steelmen did get the goal - their first of the summer - their performance merited on 69 minutes.

Moreman produced a superb burst of pace down the left and skipped past Darren Purse before squaring the ball across goal where recent signing Nabil Shariff was waiting to finish it off.

And the Steelmen were almost in front five minutes later. While Reeve hesitated, Berwick raced clear in the left channel. He fired the ball across the area, Tom McGowan missed it but it fell to Shariff whose shot bounced off the post and into the grateful arms of Snedker.

Corby continued to push for a winner but it was the Cobblers who grabbed the clinching goal with four minutes to go in one of their rare second-half ventures into the final third.

A corner was swung in from the left and substitute Ivan Toney rose above everyone else to head home.

And Northampton finished the job with the final kick of the game when Toney raced away on the counter-attack before squaring for trialist Kieron Cadogan who fired home.

Steelmen: Walker, Cray, Jelleyman, Carruthers, Malone, Arber (sub Bannister, 73 mins), Shariff, McGowan, Berwick, Ives, Moreman (sub Thurlbourne, 80 mins). Subs not used: Mattock, Vieira, Soetan, Johnson-Lamb, Farrell.

Cobblers: Snedker, Amankwaah (sub Morris, 67 mins), Reeve, Roberts, Purse, Artell, Cadogan, Dias (sub Deegan, 67 mins), Hooper (sub Toney, 67 mins), Moyo (sub Demontagnac, 67 mins), Emerton. Sub not used: McNamara.

Goals: Hooper (19 mins, 0-1), Shariff (69 mins, 1-1), Toney (86 mins, 1-2), Cadogan (90 mins, 1-3).

Attendance: 339.