County’s misery on the road continued on a frustrating afternoon in Northampton, as the home side came from behind in the second-half to take all three points.
It looked as though County were finally on course to pick up our first away points of the season at half-time, with Fraser Horsfall’s header giving us a deserved lead against his old Club.
The home side, flying high in third place in League Two, came out swinging in the second half and leveled within three minutes through the division’s top scorer Sam Hoskins, before Harvey Lintott’s header completed the turnaround against a County side who saw Akil Wright sent off in stoppage time.
It was a frustrating end to an afternoon that had promised so much for Dave Challinor and his side after a commanding first-half display, with Northampton, the league’s top scorers, not managing a single shot on goal.
Instead it was County carrying the greater threat going forward, and we deservedly took the lead on 12 minutes through a man renowned for scoring goals at Sixfields Stadium. Fraser Horsfall scored nine times for Northampton last season before making the move to Edgeley Park, and he was in the right place at the right time to turn home Ryan Johnson’s cross, after Kyle Wootton had seen a header bounce back off the bar.
It could have been even better from County just before the break as a dreadful ball back by Marc Leonard was pounced upon by Antoni Sarcevic, who looked to place it into the bottom corner but the shot was too close to the goalkeeper.
Half-time: Northampton Town 0-1 County (Horsfall, 12′)
Northampton Town manager Jon Brady made two changes at the break, bringing on forwards Danny Hylton and Kieron Bowie – substitutions that played a big part in swinging the tie back in the home sides favour, as Hylton in particular set about unsettling the County back-line.
Within minutes of the restart the home side were level – a quickly taken free-kick catching County out at the back, the ball eventually falling for Hoskins on the edge of the area; his shot deflecting up over Ben Hinchliffe and into the back of the net for the striker’s 11th goal of the season.
So bright on the ball in that first-half, conceding so soon after the break took the wind out of County’s sails somewhat, with a procession of cheap free-kicks given away by both sides disrupting the rhythm and flow of the game.
County were indebted to Ben Hinchliffe for keeping them level just after the hour mark, diving across to his left-hand side to superbly turn Sam Sherring’s header around the post. From the resulting corner however, Northampton did finally take the lead, Linton rising unmarked to nod home at the back post.
County needed a response, and Myles Hippolyte very nearly responded after the break – collecting a cross from the right-hand side after superb play by Ollie Crankshaw, but seeing his shot blocked from point-blank range.
Our misery was compounded in the dying stages, as the unfortunate Wright brought his man down on the half-way line, the referee wasting no time in showing him a second yellow card, becoming the fourth County player to be sent off this season.
Full-time: Northampton 2-1 County (Hoskins, 48′, Linton, 65′; Horsfall, 12′)
Line-up: Hinchliffe, Brown (Madden, 70′), Horsfall, R. Johnson, Kitching (Evans, 84′), Wright, Croasdale (Hippolyte, 84′), Collar, Sarcevic, Crankshaw, Wootton.
Booked: Wootton, Sarcevic
Sent off: Wright
Photographer: Mike Petch