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Report: Northampton 1 Rovers 1

Rovers' winning run comes to an end against the Cobblers

23 December 2017

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Rovers' six-game winning run came to an end after a fair 1-1 draw against Northampton at Sixfields Stadium

However, it could have been more for the visitors, with Marcus Antonsson missing a dramatic, late penalty after being brought down in the box.

Rovers weren't at their best throughout against the Cobblers who went ahead thanks to Aaron Pierre's header.

Bradley Dack's excellent strike just after the break looked to swing the pendulum in Rovers' direction, but the visitors failed to find a route past a resolute home backline.

Rovers made two enforced changes to the XI, with Corry Evans and Dominic Samel missing out through an ankle injury and sickness, the duo missing out on making the squad altogether.

Coming in for the pair were Peter Whittingham, who recovered after picking up an injury at Peterborough two weeks ago, and Danny Graham, who led the line after scoring three goals in his last four games.

For the hosts, former Rover Matt Grimes started in midfield, but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was without the suspended Matt Crooks, who was sent off last week.

Another couple of ex-Rovers in Raheem Hanley and Marc Richards both started on the bench for the Cobblers.

Just before kick-off the visitors were dealt a blow, with skipper Charlie Mulgrew going off in the warm up and replaced by Elliott Ward in the XI.

That allowing Craig Conway to take the armband, and Ward's inclusion resulted in Scott Wharton taking his place on the bench.

It was a decent start from Mowbray's side, with Richie Smallwood forcing a block on the line in the early stages of the clash when Marcus Antonsson picked out the Rovers midfielder just ten minutes in.

On 19 minutes, David Raya was called upon to dive low to his right after Chris Long's strike in the box took a slight deflection.

Just a moment later and the hosts took the lead through centre back Pierre, who powerfully headed down and into the back of the net from Grimes' deep, inswinging corner.

The home side's tails were up and just two minutes after the opener they could have added to their tally but John-Joe O'Toole could only head inches past the post after latching onto Lewis McGugan's free kick.

Mowbray's men looked for a response and brilliant defending from David Buchanan denied Dack, who was found by a pinpoint Conway cross at the back post.

Dack was involved again just seconds before half time as his dink almost caught out David Cornell in the Northampton goal, but the stopper managed to hold the audacious effort.

After the break Rovers were under the cosh and were thankful that Raya got something on Long's shot to stop the ball on the line, in what proved to be a crucial stop from the Spaniard.

As just 30 seconds later Rovers were back on level terms when Dack expertly rifled past Cornell and into the bottom corner from just inside the box, with his left foot.

Both sides were struggling to create chances in the half but Conway had a great opportunity to snatch victory with eight minutes left, but after rounding Cornell, could only fire into the side netting.

But just a moment later Rovers were awarded a penalty after Antonsson was taken down by Cornell.

However, the Swede saw his spot kick saved by Cornell, who dived to his left to stop Rovers nicking a late winner.

And that was to be that for Rovers, whose winning run came to an end in frustrating circumstances.

But as one run ends, another can begin, with Ewood Park the venue for the Boxing Day battle against Rochdale, kick-off at 3pm.

You can purchase your tickets for the game by clicking here.

Northampton: Cornell, Moloney, Buchanan (c), Taylor, Foley, Pierre (Poole, 34), Long, Smith (Hoskins, 71), O'Toole, Grimes, McGugan (McWilliams, 88).

Unused substitutes: Waters, Richards, Hanley, Coddington.

Goal: Pierre, 21

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Ward, Williams, Smallwood, Whittingham (Tomlinson, 64), Conway (c), Dack, Antonsson, Graham (Nuttall, 64).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Harper, Hart, Wharton, Caddis.

Goal: Dack, 48

Booked: Ward, 36, Downing, 43

Attendance: 6,541 (1,445 away)

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