Northampton Town 1-1 Stevenage: Ben Kennedy grabs a point for battling Boro
PUBLISHED: 16:58 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 15 December 2018
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Stevenage took on Northampton Town at Sixfields on Saturday. Read on for LAYTH YOUSIF’s match report on a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon.
Dino Maamria’s Stevenage drew 1-1 against Northampton Town at a freezing Sixfields in League Two on Saturday afternoon.
A goal by former Stevenage loanee Dean Bowditch in first half injury time was cancelled out by a Ben Kennedy effort 15 minutes from time in a hard-fought contest.
On a bitterly cold day Maamria’s men showed character to come from behind to earn a point against a determined Cobblers side.
Kurtis Guthrie returned to Boro’s starting line-up after his three-match ban following his red card at Bury last month while fit-again Danny Newton who came on against the Imps was again listed as a substitute.
The solid Paul Farman was chosen as first choice keeper after a spell out with a broken hand allied while attempts to displace understudy Seny Dieng finally came to fruition at Sixfields.
After the high of triumphing against League Two leaders Milton Keynes in late November subsequent losses at Swindon Town and at home to Lincoln City meant Boro were looking to get back on track against the 14th placed Cobblers.
Prior to kick-off Boro sat only three points outside the play-off positions with Keith Curle’s Northampton five points behind and four places lower.
A poor start which saw two defeats and two draws in his first four games resulted in former Spurs defender Justin Edinburgh being sacked by the club with Curle, who departed Carlisle in May, appointed as boss.
Since the appointment of the former Wimbledon defender the Sixfields based outfit have improved their form and sat ten points outside the relegation trapdoor before the match.
They certainly started the livelier with plenty of possession albeit with little end product on a freezing cold afternoon in Northamptonshire.
The well-travelled Bowditch looked lively early on as he threatened the visitors backline.
On 20 minutes neat play in midfield saw Kevin van Veen turn and run towards the penalty area before finding colleague Shay Facey, but his cross was put over the bar by Powell when well placed.
Van Veen was involved again 60m seconds later after bringing the ball down neatly on the touchline before cutting inside and to shoot left-footed with his effort rolling narrowly wide.
David Buchanan found himself on the corner of the penalty area after being found by Bowditch before curling an effort into the far-post, but the strike went just wide.
As the half wore on Curle’s Cobblers pushed Boro deeper and deeper through their attacking intent which pinned the visitors back.
The pressure eventually told a minute into first half injury time when Bowditch – who played for Boro last term on loan from Northampton – fired home with a neat finish moments before referee Chris Sarginson blew for the interval.
The disappointment was intensified with the realisation Guthrie missed a gilt-edged chance seconds earlier after a Ben Kennedy cross.
The second half started in the same vein with Bowditch nearly grabbing a second after meeting van Veen’s knockdown. The 32-year-old well-travelled journeyman worked a yard of space with neat footwork but fired just wide from the edge of the box.
Van Veen nearly made it two on the hour mark when he raced onto a ball behind the Stevenage defence and attempted to the onrushing Farman from a difficult angle but the ball fell inches wide.
However, Stevenage kept fighting and were rewarded for their battling qualities in the sheeting rain when substitute Newton harried the home backline until the ball fell to starlet Kennedy.
The Northern Ireland U21 international remains a huge prospect and slotted home past home keeper David Cornell – much to the joy of the 340 travelling Boro fans in a crowd of 4,756.
As the clock ticked down a good point was marred somewhat by Michael Timlin being stretchered off following what appeared to be a serious injury, but overall Stevenage and Maamria can be proud of their efforts on a miserable winter’s afternoon.