Northampton Town 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • November 26, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Zach Clough scored the only goal, as Bolton won at Northampton Town to move into the League One automatic promotion places.

Clough's strike arrived with 25 minutes on the clock, as he latched on to a reverse ball from Sammy Ameobi before slotting beyond David Cornell.

The victory, Wanderers' third in the space of a week, sees them leapfrog Sheffield United in the league table, following their 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic, whilst also cutting Scunthorpe United's lead at the top after their draw at home to Oxford United.

Phil Parkinson opted to stick with the same team that started against Coventry City on Tuesday, as he looked to build on back-to-back home victories with a first on the road since the win at Bury on October 24.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the hosts, as David Buchanan volleyed straight into the arms of Ben Alnwick after getting on the end of a knockdown from Alex Revell.

Wanderers hit back with an opportunity of their own shortly afterwards, with Ameobi forcing Cornell into action with a powerful drive from the edge of the box, but it was Northampton who came closest to breaking the deadlock when former Wanderers midfielder Matt Taylor struck the post following a surging run from Kenji Gorre.

Josh Vela was next to try his luck for the visitors, only for his effort to be blocked after being picked out unmarked by Andrew Taylor, before Sam Hoskins brought a smart stop out of Alnwick after Bolton had failed to deal with a cross from Gorre.

With both sides enjoying plenty of chances in the final third, it came as no surprise to see the deadlock broken on 25 minutes and it arrived in style.

Expert hold-up play from Ameobi bought Bolton time to push men forward. After spotting the run of Clough, the on-loan Newcastle United winger played an outstanding reverse pass, leaving the club's leading goalscorer with the simple task of slotting past Cornell.

Wanderers came close to doubling their advantage just before the half-hour, but Taylor's low cross was just too far ahead of Gary Madine, before Ameobi narrowly missed the target with another strike from range.

Clough was inches away from adding to his goal tally with the final attack of the half, seeing a spectacular scissor kick whistle just past the post as the visitors were made to settle for a one-goal lead going into the interval.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Gabriel Zakuani heading wide from a Taylor corner.

Northampton looked set to equalise on 55 minutes as the ball bounced around Alnwick's goalmouth, but Derik Osede put his body on the line to block Paul Anderson's goalbound shot.

The hosts did eventually have the ball in the net at the midway point of the half, but John-Joe O'Toole's bundled effort following a scramble was ruled out by the referee's assistant for an offside.

Despite their lead, Bolton were struggling to retain possession at this stage and were thankful to Alnwick for keeping them ahead when he threw himself to the ground to parry away an effort from Hoskins.

Parkinson's reaction was to slow the momentum of the game by making his first substitution of the afternoon, bringing James Henry on in place of the tiring Ameobi.

Jamie Proctor soon followed as a replacement for Gary Madine, and Clough's game came to an end when he was brought off for Chris Taylor, but the changes appeared to work as Northampton struggled to get through a stubborn Bolton defence.

But there was still time for the Cobblers to have one last effort on goal and it arrived in the final minute of five added for stoppages, with Taylor left frustrated as he was denied by Alnwick and Bolton ultimately took the points.

Wanderers leapfrog Sheffield United into 2nd-place as a result of their win, ahead of an FA Cup second-round between the clubs at Macron Stadium next Saturday.

Bolton must now wait more than a fortnight for their next piece of league action, when they play host to Gillingham in a televised clash on December 12.

Northampton Town: Cornell, Phillips, Nyatanga, Zakuani, Buchanan, McCourt (O'Toole 54), Taylor, Anderson (Potter 76), Hoskins, Gorre (Richards 54), Revell
Subs Not Used: Smith, Beautyman, Hanley, McDonald
Booked: O'Toole

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Osede, Beevers, Wilson, Thorpe, Spearing, Vela, Ameobi (Henry 72), Clough (C Taylor 87), Madine (Proctor 81)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Buxton, Moxey, Anderson
Goals: Clough 25

Referee: Darren Deadman
Attendance: 7,018

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
2 Peterborough United 4 9
3 Portsmouth 4 8
4 Bolton Wanderers 4 8
5 Exeter City 4 7
6 Charlton Athletic 4 7
View Full Standings >>


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