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Report: Northampton 1-1 Fleetwood

6 August 2016

Nirennold header earns the Cod Army a point at Sixfields Stadium

Fleetwood starting XI: Neal; McLaughlin, Bell, Pond (C), Eastham, Jonsson, Ryan, Nirennold, B Grant, Ball, Hunter.

Northampton starting XI: Smith: Buchanan, Diamond, Zakuani, Richards ©, Revell, Gorre, Beautyman, Phillips, O’Toole, Taylor.

Having opened the campaign with a positive point on the road, Fleetwood turn their attention to the EFL Cup First-Round against Leeds United at Highbury Stadium on Wednesday.

Eggert Jonsson could have earned Fleetwood maximum points in the closing stages, as the ball sat up nicely for the Icelander. His dipping half-volley fizzed narrowly wide.

Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Devante Cole were brought onto the pitch off the substitute’s bench, as Fleetwood looked to go direct, in order to find a winner.

In the final 20 minutes, Northampton should have seized the advantage once again. Alfie Potter’s diagonal through-ball played Richards on goal, though his tame shot was dealt with by Neal.

Shortly after, with the hour mark approaching, the industrious Ball maneuvered space to turn a half-volley towards goal, which Smith was equal to, before Grant’s 30-yard strike later just missed the right-hand post. 

Up the other end, captain Marc Richards received the ball in a threatening position, but his curled shot was comfortably held by Neal.

When the second-half commenced, it didn’t take Fleetwood long restore parity, as Grant cut inside to dink an in-swinging which Ball flicked on towards the unmarked Nirennold, the midfielder cushioned a bundled header across goal to draw Rosler’s side level.

Later in the half, two new recruits combined, Beautyman profited from some positive link-up play to cut the ball back from the right to the on-waiting Gorre, who ballooned his volley over the bar from six-yards out.

Just after the half-hour mark, Fleetwood survived a scare after Taylor’s lift-sided free-kick went straight through the waiting men in the box, the ball thumped the post, prior to being cleared to safety by Nathan Pond.

Despite going a goal down, Town’s looked to respond positively, though couldn’t find the goal they craved, despite Hunter and David Ball creating half-chances, and the latter having a penalty appeal turned down after Zakuani’s apparent pull back on the visitors’ number ten.

Town almost hit back immediately though, however after being played in down the right, Ashley Hunter’s daisy-cutter was palmed away by Smith’s right glove.

Play dropped to the new recruit, Revell on the edge of the penalty area, he swung his boot to arrow the ball towards the bottom left corner, which crashed off the base of the post before bouncing behind the line off the Fleetwood stopper.

Following an even start to proceedings, Northampton took the lead with the game’s first attempt after eight minutes, courtesy of Neal’s unfortunate own goal.

Meanwhile, Northampton manager Rob Page handed competitive debuts to Matthew Taylor,  Revell, Harry Beautyman Gabriel Zakuani, Kenji Gorre and Aaron Phillips, for the hosts first game back in the third-tier, following promotion as League Two champions.

Rosler had a full-strength side at his disposal for his inaugural outing in charge, and opted to field the returning Amari’I Bell and Jimmy Ryan from the outset against the Cobblers. Neal and centre-back Ashley Eastham were both handed competitive debuts.

Fleetwood responded with an equaliser six-minutes after the interval, when Victor Nirennold glanced Bobby Grant’s cross from the right, past Adam Smith.

After just eight minutes Alex Revell’s drilled effort came off the post and diverted into the net off goalkeeper Chris Neal.

The midfielder burst into the box to head home from a David Ball flick after Northampton took the lead in the most fortunate of circumstances.

Victor Nirennold fired his first career goal to earn Uwe Rosler’s side a point in his first game as Head Coach at Fleetwood Town.

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