Northampton Town walk away the victors in a thrilling top of the table clash at The Lamex Stadium...
A bumper crowd turned up to The Lamex Stadium to witness a top of the table clash, with third-placed Northampton Town standing in the way of league leaders Stevenage. Steve Evans named three changes from last week’s draw in Gillingham as Jake Taylor, Kane Smith and Michael Bostwick replaced Jake Reeves, Luther James-Wildin and the suspended Jordan Roberts.
After just twenty-two seconds, Northampton earned themselves a penalty after a late Terence Vancooten challenge. Louis Appere stepped up and struck it past Taye Ashby-Hammond’s right to give Northampton the lead within just a minute. Stevenage were now forced to go off-script in order to get the result they wished for.
Boro were growing into the game slightly, but it was The Cobblers who got the next chance of the game. Mitch Pinnock raced through the centre of the park before taking aim and firing just wide of the post.
Northampton were not slowing down as they searched for a second. Appeals for another penalty were heard loud and clear from the away end, before Taye Ashby-Hammond was forced to deny a low strike.
Less than half an hour in, Boro boss Steve Evans was shown two yellow cards in the space of two minutes and was subsequently sent to the stands for the remainder of the match.
About seven minutes later, Stevenage found an equaliser. Jake Taylor carried the ball from midfield before sending Danny Rose through on goal, and despite pressure from the defender and goalkeeper, the Boro striker slotted it past Lee Burge to level the scoring and liven The Lamex crowd.
Stevenage looked like a team with intent in the final stages of the half as the home crowd were right behind them. Kane Smith’s speed and reactions earned Boro a free-kick on the right wing. It was Alex Gilbey who whipped in a pin-point cross, with Dan Sweeney’s header flying just over the bar.
Boro managed to create one final chance in the first half as Alex Gilbey received the ball towards the left-hand side, before cutting it onto his right and striking low and hard past the post.
Stevenage came out for the second half full of energy ahead of a huge forty-five minutes. Saxon Earley was replaced by Max Clark five minutes into the half to get some fresh legs on the left-hand side.
Boro supporters around the ground believed their side had taken the lead before the hour mark. Jamie Reid received the ball inside the Cobblers area before firing into the far bottom corner past Lee Burge, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside. Jamie Reid was then substituted for Luke Norris ten minutes later.
The Cobblers remained on the back foot as Stevenage searched for a potential winner. Max Clark delivered a delightful cross into the box, but Dan Sweeney headed over.
Down the other end, Northampton appealed for a penalty once again, claiming that Alex Gilbey had hit the ball with his hand in the area. A corner was given instead but the attack ended with a headed effort over the bar.
With ten minutes remaining, The Cobblers took the lead. The ball fell to Kieron Bowie on the edge of the area, as his effort deflected past Taye Ashby-Hammond and into the back of the net.
Just minutes later, Stevenage found an equaliser to the delight of the home crowd. Max Clark’s corner was headed at the back post by Carl Piergianni before the ball fell to Alex Gilbey to whack home.
There was absolutely no time to rest at The Lamex Stadium as Northampton went straight up the other end to take back the lead. Mitch Pinnock managed to cross the ball to Shaun McWilliams at the back post who tapped it in.
Tensions were high as the Fourth Official indicated seven more minutes to be played. Danny Hylton was handed a red card for putting his palm to Dan Sweeney’s face.
The Cobblers managed to see out the game as Stevenage fell to a home defeat for the first time since April.
Attendance: 4941 including 959 away supporters.