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Northampton match report
12 January 2016 23:10 Post ID: #71552
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A robust and strong Northampton team took advantage of two mistakes from Argyle to win the top of the table clash 2-1.

Two big mistakes from our two most experienced players cost Argyle the game. Luke McCormick and Peter Hartley made two howlers in attempted clearances that resulted in two goals for Northampton, although to be fair both those players rarely make mistakes.
Northampton didn't create many chances of their own, having just four shots on target and with 19 fouls are content to foul their way to promotion.

Argyle were not helped by yet another poor set of officials who missed two good shouts for a penalty (remember them?) and a ball crossing the goal-line from a corner. Things just didn't go our way in this match, clearances or loose balls would fall to a Northampton player or a 50/50 tackle would drop the way of a yellow shirt. Northampton were a stronger team than us but it was us who created the better chances.
Ryan Brunt's cross for Gregg's Wylde's goal was superb.

The saving grace from this defeat is that we are still top of the league.

The pitch had a bit more green on it but there were still huge areas of mud.

Argyle manager Derek Adams started with a tall strong team rather than play Craig Tanner or Wylde and maybe was influenced by the poor state of the pitch and the brutal Northampton line-up, Carl McHugh sat in front of the back four, Josh Simpson and Oscar Threlkeld operated in midfield and Jake Jervis and Brunt flanked the returning Reuben Reid in the centre in a 4-1-2-3 formation.

Richards for Northampton had the first chance of the game but headed over while Reid had a shot go wide and a close range header tipped over the bar by the Northampton keeper.
The first half was very scrappy and littered with fouls which suited Northampton.

With the momentum in our favour Northampton took an undeserved lead. A Kelvin Mellor back pass to McCormick should have been cleared but McCormick tried to trick the advancing Collins with a pull back, Collins read the situation, tackled McCormick and rolled the ball into an empty. Disaster for Argyle and the only way Northampton would score would be from a mistake. Questions could be asked of Mellor passing back in that situation but the blame lays 100% with McCormick.

From that point until the 96th minute Northampton tried to stop the flow of the play at every opportunity with a poor referee letting them get away with it. We've seen use of the black arts so many times this season, it's a form of cheating.

We started the second half with more determination and it felt like a goal would come soon enough, it did but went the way of Northampton and it was another defensive howler!
Under no pressure Hartley attempted to clear the ball and passed straight to O'Toole who slid the ball to Richards and he slotted past McCormick. 2-0, a mountain to climb and two assist from McCormick and Hartley.

Adams made two changes, Tanner replaced Threlkeld and played behind Reid and then soon after Wylde came on for Reid and the formation switched to 4-4-2.
Every time we had attacking pressure or momentum a Northampton player would drop to the ground, that pesky sniper had returned to Home Park (it will be worse against Stevenage on Saturday) and was cheered on by the ref.
Once the Northampton player had received emergency treatment, he was back on his feet and the momentum for Argyle had gone.

Our goal came from a crazy one minute of action. Jervis was pulled down in the area but the ref gave no penalty and the linesman is only there to signal throw-ins anyway.
The ref did award a corner and from this it looked like a Northampton player had scored an own goal, again the linesman didn't look interested. I'm sure the ball went over the line.
Soon after a brilliant cross from Brunt found Wylde at the far post and he slammed in to make it 2-1.

The black arts from the Cobblers then went into overdrive, it was so frustrating.
We bombarded the Northampton area but it was one of those games when nothing would drop for us.
Hartley was pulled back in the area but again no penalty, a rare species. We just knew it wasn't our day.

A 2-1 defeat is not the end of the world, we are still in a very good position but it would been nice to beat a team who use such tactics to win a game and their players looked a bit too smug, especially O'Toole, although to be fair he had a good game.

I don't understand having Deane Smalley, Tyler Harvey and Louise Rooney on the bench if they are not used in a game we are losing? One more sub and striker might have made a difference late in the game.

Brunt had an excellent game on the left side of the front three before moving into the middle, he doesn't have the pace for a wide player but he battles and held up the ball well enough.
Reid looked rusty but had our best chance of the first half, if only he headed downwards.

McHugh had another good game in midfield, Simpson was neat and tidy but he and Threlkeld were often out-battled and out-muscled in midfield. Simpson again had a very average game when starting and is much better when coming on as a sub to either chase a game or close it down.
Our defence and McCormick have been brilliant this season but it was them who cost us the game. Nevermind, move on.

Man of the match: Brunt.

McCormick 4, Mellor 5, Nelson 6, Hartley 4, Sawyer 6, McHugh 7, Threlkeld 6, Simpson 6, Jervis 5, Brunt 8, Reid 6, Tanner 6, Wylde 6
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