Fleetwood Town fell to a 1-0 defeat to Northampton at the PTS Academy Stadium on Tuesday evening in Sky Bet League One, despite a dominant performance.
Town controlled the possession and play throughout the game but it was a corner at the start of the second-half which decided the result as Cian Bolger jumped highest and nodded it into the back of the Fleetwood net.
The game got off to a cagey start with both teams contesting for the ball in the middle of the park whilst trying to find their feet.
The first chance of the game fell to home side when Benny Ashley-Seal tried to meet Nicky Adam’s looping cross with his head, but the forward wasn’t able to make enough contact to direct his effort on target.
At the other end, Callum Camps came close to opening the scoring for Fleetwood. Paddy Madden headed down Tom Edwards’ cross into the path of the midfielder whose effort flew just wide of Steve Arnold’s goal.
The Cod Army came close again when Ched Evans received the ball on the edge of the Northampton box. He found Camps in space who, after seeing off a defender teed up Sam Finley whose effort was deflected wide – Callum Connolly headed over from the resulting corner.
A flurry of Fleetwood attacks saw more pressure piled on the Cobblers goal. This time Evans created an opportunity for himself to score. He saw off his marker and cut inside before striking the ball, but Arnold got down to his right-hand side to make the save.
After taking a short corner, captain Paul Coutts led by example and tried his luck from range but saw his strike fly just wide of the post.
Evans had another chance to test Arnold after winning a free-kick 20 yards from goal. His powerful effort flew through the wall towards the bottom left corner, but the Northampton stopper was up to the challenge meaning the two sides went in level at the break.
Against the run of play, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock just two minutes into the second half when Bolger headed Adams’ in-swinging corner past goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler.
Fleetwood’s responded well and pushed for an equalizer. Coutts’ floated ball into the area was met by the foot of Evans but his attempt was no trouble for the goalkeeper.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Fleetwood almost found a way through when Finley placed a nice one-two with Evans who tried to find Madden on the penalty spot, but the ball was intercepted and cleared to safety.
Finley came close again to levelling the score when Wes Burns cushioned the ball into his path, but his effort veered wide of the target.
Moments later Danny Rose called Leutwiler into action when Marshall played him through on goal. The Fleetwood stopper was able to parry the ball to safety.
Northampton XI: Arnold (GK), Harriman, Sowerby, Bolger (C), Horsfall, Hoskins, Smith (Rose 82), Adams (Missilou 76), McWilliams, Ashley-Seal (Marshall 68), Sheehan
Bench: Mitchell (GK), Watson, Lines, Holmes, Rose
Town XI: Leutwiler (GK), Edwards (Burns 74), Andrew, Connolly (Rossiter, Whelan, Evans, Camps (Duffy 74), Mulgrew, Coutts (C) (McKay 68), Madden, Finley (Morris
Bench: Cairns (GK), Hill