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Northampton Town 1 Rovers 0

9 September 2017

Rovers fell to defeat at Northampton as they were made to pay for a slow start which saw the home side go ahead after just 21 seconds.

Darren Ferguson made three changes, with Harry Toffolo, Rodney Kongolo and Liam Mandeville all coming into the starting XI.

It was Northampton’s first match under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and he had clearly got his side fired up - and they scored with their first attack. They broke down the left and George Smith’s cross found Matt Crooks who turned the ball home.

Rovers looked to get back into the game with Tommy Rowe getting a shot away, but the home side controlled much of the possession in the opening 20 minutes - though neither goalkeeper were forced into a save.

The most notable moment for Rovers fans fas a five-minute delay while an injured assistant was replaced by the fourth official.

Rovers came back into the game as it approached the half-hour mark. John Marquis was squeezed out after 23 minutes when he was looking to get a shot away, and three minutes later a great move down the right resulted in Matty Blair delivering a great cross from the right which zipped across goal agonisingly too far ahead of Marquis and Tommy Rowe.

Ben Whiteman found Liam Mandeville in the area, but the forward was squeezed out before he could get a shot away, moments later Tyler Garratt was unable to get the power on a shot to trouble Matt Ingram.

Whiteman went into the book after 31 minutes for a foul on Matt Grimes. The home player took the resulting free-kick, but it did not beat the wall.

The home side carved their best chance since the frantic opening with 39 minutes on the clock, but Crooks' effort ended up in the stands with Rovers fans.

Crooks was by some distance the Cobblers’ danger man, and almost got another in stoppage time with a diving header which went just wide of Ian Lawlor’s post.

Ferguson made just one change at the break, with James Coppinger coming on in place of Toffolo. Rovers also moved to a 4-4-2 formation

Rovers started well, with Marquis caught offside in the opening seconds as he looked to break down the left, with Ingram out quickly to nick the ball off the head of Mandeville.

Marquis thought he was fouled in the area when he went down under a challenge after collecting the ball in the area.

Joe Wright looped a header just over after 51 minutes after the ball was played back into the area following a free-kick from the left.

Ferguson made a double change on the hour mark. Jordan Houghton and Alfie May come on, with Garratt and Mandeville coming off.

The chances really started to come after 70 minutes, starting when Marquis did well to keep the ball in and pull it back for May - his effort was deflected wide for the first of a series of five corners inside four minutes.

Some determined defending from the home side kept them at bay, with Kongolo seeing a shot blocked,home defender George Smith nicking the ball off the feet of Matty Blair, Butler heading over and Rowe flicking an effort towards goal which was kept out by a combination of Ingram and the woodwork.

Coppinger stung the palms of Ingram with a powerful low effort after 79 minutes, but the ball just would not fall for an attacking player.

Rovers continued to push, with Ingram pulling off a spectacular save to tip a Whiteman effort over the bar in the closing stages.

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