Northampton manager Justin Edinburgh was left a heap of injury blows ahead of the game against Oxford United with both John-Joe O’Toole (groin) and Luke Williams (hamstring) unable to play at Sixfields. Both Paul and Keshi Anderson were put into the side with teenager Shaun McWilliams, having been recalled from a loan spell at King’s Lynn, being named on the substitutes bench.
Before kick-off an impeccably observed period of silence was held to remember the victims of the attack in Westminster on Wednesday.
Early in the game, Keshi Anderson had a shot straight at Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood after breaking from midfield while, from a David Buchanan cross, captain Marc Richards went close with a simple header. Defender Zander Diamond headed over from a Matt Taylor corner as Northampton continued to push for an opener before half time.
Oxford attacker Conor McAleny had a shot curl wide before Adam Smith saved a glancing effort from Phil Edwards towards the close of a first half which seen the teams remain level at 0-0.
Portsmouth loanee Michael Smith failed to finish a Keshi Anderson cross at the beginning of the second half while down the other end, Adam Smith did well to gather in a deflected cross from Edwards before denying midfielder Liam Sercombe from close range.
The Cobblers were awarded a penalty for their hard work when Simon Eastwood brought down winger Paul Anderson. Matt Taylor stepped up to take it but it was saved by the Oxford keeper and eventually cleared. Hiram Boateng was then brought on for Keshi Anderson who put in a large shift during his time in the game.
Gregg Wylde (who was subbed on for Jak McCourt) did well to win a corner with 15 minutes remaining, from which, Diamond saw a header saved the man between the Oxford sticks.
With just over ten minutes to go and the score still 0-0, United’s Joe Rothwell hit the ball against the cross bar, Smith making a crucial finger-tip save. Smith then made another brilliant save to deny Liam Sercombe at very close range.
Marc Richards saw a shot blocked by Curtis Nelson as the game moved into stoppage time but the game was to end goalless, both team taking a point from the game. This result saw Oxford drop a place while Northampton remained in 14th place, still almost certainly safe from relegation with some tough games coming up in the next few weeks, including a visit of Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United.
Sponsor’s MOTM: Lewin Nyatanga
Attendance: 7,434 (1,399 away fans)