MATCH REPORT: Northampton 1-0 Blackpool

Kelvin Mellor battles for the ball
Kelvin Mellor battles for the ball

Blackpool lost 1-0 at Northampton to pick up the unwanted stat of suffering their first back-to-back league defeats of the season.

Sam Hoskins opportunistic first-half effort proved enough to separate the two sides in what was a drab affair and a game severely lacking in quality.

Neither goalkeeper had much to deal with but the Cobblers, who going into the game had lost their last three at home, edged it with one moment of good fortune.

The game got off to a frantic start and with just two minutes on the clock both sides had wasted early opportunities to break the deadlock with their first chances on goal.

The first fell to Northampton, with their winger Daniel Powell pouncing on a Blackpool mistake to charge through on goal only to see his shot well saved by Ryan Allsop.

The Seasiders immediately broke and came even closer to scoring, but lone striker Armand Gnanduillet could only hit the side netting from a narrow angle having closed down the goalkeeper and robbing him of the ball.

Although the game soon calmed down it turned into a scrappy affair devoid of much quality, although Kelvin Mellor came close with a glancing header from a corner.

Northampton’s Chris Long was then left unmarked at the back post only to see his shot well blocked by Will Aimson.

Considering the lack of quality on show it seemed apt that the deadlock was broken thanks a moment of good fortune - and it came the way of the home side.

Matt Grimes’ hopeful shot from range, which looked to be heading well wide, fell straight to the feet of Sam Hoskins who managed to flick it past the helpless Allsop.

For all of the Seasiders possession, most of it came in their own half and through a mix of poor touches and misplaced passes, they were unable to break down Northampton’s stubborn defence.

The Cobblers weren’t particularly impressive but by keeping things solid and capitalising on Pool’s needless mistakes were able to keep them at arm's bay.

Chances were so few and far between a Chris Long shot that flew about 20 yards wide of Blackpool’s goal received a generous round of applause from the home supporters.

There were also encouraging claps all round after Grimes’ effort from a free kick 25 yards out sailed a yard or two over the Blackpool bar in the last action of the opening period.

The Seasiders emerged with a different line-up and a different formation for the second half, with Danny Philliskirk replacing Gnanduillet, allowing Nathan Delfouneso to go up top.

The change saw them continue to have more of the ball but now they had more of a zip to their play, which saw the hosts pinned inside their own half as the Seasiders got on top.

Callum Cooke, who failed to make any impact in the first half, began to become increasingly influential as time wore on.

First he managed to get in behind the Northampton defence but failed to find anyone with his pullback.

Then, with the goalkeeper off his line, he tried his luck with an effort from the edge of the box that was cleared away from danger by the backtracking Aaron Pierre.

For all of Pool’s pressure and good play, they still weren’t able to make the Northampton ‘keeper Matt Ingram work.

Time after time Bowyer’s men worked the ball into the box only to lack that final ball.

A perfect illustration of that was when Delfouneso found himself in a good position behind the Northampton full back only to see his cross evade everyone in the box.

With just ten minutes remaining, the home side had a clear-cut chance to double their lead but Hoskins, the scorer of their first goal, shot wide of the far post having been sent through on goal.

Blackpool sent men forward in the dying moments in a desperate last-ditch attempt to equalise. But try as they might, the hosts saw out the rest of the game to pick up the three points.

Northampton: Ingram, McWilliams, Taylor, Pierre, Buchanan, Poole, Grimes, Powell, O'Toole (Bowditch), Hoskins (Waters), Long (Richards)

Subs not used: Cornell, Smith, Kasim, McGugan

Blackpool: Allsop, Turton, Tilt, Aimson, Daniel (Taylor), Spearing, Longstaff (Solomon-Otabor), Cooke, Mellor, Delfouneso, Gnanduillet (Philliskirk)

Subs not used: Williams, Anderton, D'Almeida, Quigley

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 5,213 (371 Blackpool)