npower League 2 action from Sixfields
Adebayo Akinfenwa's 69th minute header was all that seperated the Cobblers and the Brewers on a freezing cold afternoon at Sixfields. The imposing striker guided a deftly flicked header beyond Dean Lyness after a spell of home pressure and despite a late rally from the Brewers it was the home side that bagged the three points to leapfrog the Brewers in the npower League 2 table.
With new loan signing Ian Sharps unavailable due to the paperwork not being completed in time for him to make his debut it was an unchanged defensive unit that took to the field against the Cobblers. The one change to the side came just in front of the defence where Aaron Webster earned a recall in a defensive midfield role. Billy Kee was the man to make way as a further unchanged midfield four supported Calvin Zola in the lone striker position.
Northampton came out all guns blazing and could have scored twice in the opening moments as both Clive Platt and Adebayo Akinfenwa had headers on goal firstly saved by keeper Dean Lyness and then cannon back off the post with Damien McCrory required to make a hurried clearance off the line. There were still only four minutes on the clock when Jake Robinson tried a shot from beyond the far post and watched as it flew across the six yard box and wide of the upright.
Robinson was also close in the 13th minute with a deflected effort that went straight into the arms of Lyness.
Lively winger Chris Hackett was a constant menace down the right for the Cobblers and he almost got himself onto the scoresheet with a curling effort from just inside the penalty area that Lyness was able to watch curl wide of his right hand post.
Just before the half hour mark Adebayo Akinfenwa found himself in the book for an innocuous looking challenge on Zander Diamond. The burly striker was almost in the book for the right reasons moments later as he challenged for a Ben Tozer long throw just inside the six yard box but guided his effort over the angle of post and crossbar.
Albion were almost caught out on the counter attack as a rare venture into the Northampton box broke down and the home side quickly had Hackett scampering away down the right. His eventual low cross wasa deflected past Lyness but across goal and Ben Harding was unable to finish the move at the far post.
Luek Guttridge almost produced a moment of real quality when he swivelled on the ball in the penalty area only to see his shot fizz across the box and wide of the post.
Akinfenwa had another header from a Tozer long throw but as with his first effort he could not steer his effort on target.
Half time: Northampton Town 0-0 Burton Albion
Albion's first real effort came in the early moments of the second period. A wayward clearance from Joe Widdowson fell nicely for Lee Bell but the midfield lynchpin could not keep his shot down, failing to trouble Lee Nicholls in the Town goal.
Northampton's response was a flowing move that saw Hackett deliver a floated cross for Akinfenwa who was just unable to make contact with his head.
the hosts continued to look the more lively side but Albion almost caught them napping as a wayward pass allowed Albion to set Bell haring into the area but in combination with Jacques Maghoma they could not find a way past Nicholls.
Luke Guttridge also found his way into referee Bond's notebook, this time for a foul on Mccrory as the left back looked to join in with the attack.
Northampton finally got the goal that their persistence had threatened with just over twenty minutes to play. The Cobblers had been frustrated by some resolute Burton defending but Ben Tozers' cross in found the head of AKINFENWA and he guided a looping header over the advancing Lyness and into the bottom corner of the net.
Albion's response was to throw on Billy Kee as a replacement for Lee Bell and almost instantly he set Drury racing away down the right. His low cross eventually rebounded out to Robbie Weir who saw Clarke Carlisle deflect the ball away for a corner.
A second change for Albion on 78 minutes saw Jacques Maghoma replaced by Jimmy Phillips.
The Cobblers soon made their first change with winger Ishmel Demontagnac brought on in place of striker Clive Platt.
Lyness produced a smart double save on 83 minutes as Jake Robinson wriggled free inside the area with Harding denied from the follow-up header.
Albion rallied and Damien McCrory forced Nicholls into a save at his near post that resulted in a corner as the keeper failed to keep a hold of the ball. Albion's final change saw Matt Paterson replace Calvin Zola on 88 minutes.
NORTHAMPTON: Nicholls, Widdowson, Guttridge, Langmead, Harding, Platt, Akinfenwa, Hackett, Tozer, Robinson, Carlisle. Substitutes: Demontagnac, Snedker, Wilson, Moult, Hornby, Turnbull, Mayo.
BURTON: Lyness; O'Connor, Diamond, Stanton, McCrory; Webster; Drury, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Zola. Substitutes: Tomlinson, McGrath, Phillips, Paterson, Holness, Dyer, Kee.
GOALS: Northampton - Akinfenwa (69)
Referee: Mr. D.Bond (Lancashire)
Attendance: 4,090 (167 away)