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13 November 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Match Preview - Rovers v Northampton

12 November 2021

Rovers return to the Mem this Saturday as we welcome Northampton Town in the Sky Bet League Two.

Rovers head into the Sky Bet League Two fixture off the back of three away fixtures in a row. Rovers' last league win came against Harrogate Town with Nick Anderton netting his maiden goal in a Rovers shirt. In midweek, Rovers were knocked out of the Papa John's Trophy after a 5-3 away loss against Exeter City. 

Manager's Preview

Rovers boss, Joey Barton spoke with local press at the Quarters on Friday morning. The Rovers manager gave his pre-match thoughts ahead of the game on Saturday.

"Northampton are on a good little run themselves, I think they’ve won four on the spin.

In our stadium, we want to start to make the Mem a really tough place to come. We haven’t managed to do that consistently enough.

Away from home, we’ve been hard to beat and we’ve shown a bit of resilience. At home, we need to galvanise our fanbase by putting in a solid performance and winning a game of football."

Player Preview

Rovers winger, Harry Anderson also spoke with local press on Friday morning. Harry spoke about how he is adapting to his new role in the team.

"It’s good that the gaffer trusts me to be able to play in lots of different positions and I’m enjoying it.

Wing-back’s always a tough role. There’s always a lot of running involved, but I don’t really mind it to be fair. I was a winger before, so I’ve got the attacking attributes.

Now it’s just the defensive bits I’ve got to be more aware of and work on those parts of the game."

Form Guide

Northampton Town currently occupy 3rd place in the Sky Bet League Two with 27 points from 15 games so far this season. The Cobblers are currently on a 4 game winning streak in the league with their last defeat coming away against Hartlepool United. Jon Brady's side have scored 20 goals from their 15 league fixtures so far this season and average 11.5 shots per game in the Sky Bet League Two. 

Midfielder, Sam Hoskins currently tops the goalscoring charts in the league for Northampton. Hoskins had found the net on 4 occasions in the Sky Bet League Two this season and has also registered 2 assists in his 13 appearances. The Englishman has a WhoScored.com overall rating of 7.34 in the league this season.

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View From the Press Bench

James Heneghan, Northampton Town reporter for the Northampton Chronicle has provided an insight on what to expect from Saturday's opponents. 

"Northampton Town have been fast out of the traps on their return to League Two this season following a summer of major change both on and off the pitch. A whole host of summer signings, plus changes behind the scenes, did not stop them from winning four of their first seven matches to briefly sit third in the table.

A wobble then followed, suffering back-to-back defeats to Sutton and Hartlepool, but a switch in formation to 4-4-3 in early October coincided with a dramatic change in fortunes as four successive wins, all without conceding, moved them back up to third ahead of Saturday's game at Bristol Rovers. 

Their excellent start to the season has been built on a rock-solid defence, led by centre-backs Jon Guthrie and Fraser Horsfall. They have kept nine clean sheets in 15 league games, the joint-most in the EFL.

Young striker Kion Etete, on loan from Tottenham, has been highly impressive up front while attacking midfielder Paul Lewis is in fine goalscoring form with four goals in his last two games. Mitch Pinnock and Sam Hoskins are also a threat from out wide, combining for seven assists between them."

Ref Watch

Sam Allison is the appointed official for Saturday's contest. Allison has taken charge of 14 fixtures so far this season, producing 56 yellow cards and 5 red cards,  with three red cards coming during Shrewsbury's fixture against Oldham. In total, Allison has officiated 21 Sky Bet League Two fixtures, averaging 23 yellow cards and 2.81 yellow cards.

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Betting Preview

EFL sponsors, Sky Bet have priced Rovers at 8/5 for the win on Saturday. On the goal scorer markets, Antony Evans is priced at 6/1 to score at any time throughout Saturday's fixture. 

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE. Please bet responsibly.

How to Watch

Due to the international break, Saturday's game is live on iFollow. So far this season, the club has sold over 7,000 iFollow match passes - which is the largest number of match passes sold by a Sky Bet League Two club so far this season. The football club receives a large proportion of the match pass fee - meaning that purchasing an iFollow pass is a great way to back your football club. Buy a match pass by clicking HERE.

 

 

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Match Reports

Match Report - Rovers 2-1 Northampton

13 November 2021

A feisty affair at the Memorial Stadium saw a fine - and deserved - comeback win for 10-man Rovers.

Goals from Josh Grant and Antony Evans cancelled out Sam Hoskin's first-half penalty.

Rovers began by naming an unchanged line-up from last Sunday’s FA Cup clash at Oxford, looking to derail visiting Northampton’s four-match winning run.

With their backs to the Thatchers End, Rovers began at a frantic pace; Grant bursting into the Northampton box after a minute, only for Town to race straight up the other end and force Belshaw into a smart stop at his near post.

Grant again found space in the seventh minute, but his right-footed cross was just beyond Anderson. Glenn Whelan found himself in the referee’s notebook after only 10 minutes following a crunching tackle on McWilliams.

A loose pass from Finley saw the visitors grab the first corner of the game on 14, which Grant headed clear. A lovely Rovers passing move was then inches away from being turned into Northampton’s own net, the ball squirming beyond Roberts’ left glove for a corner, which ultimately led to nothing.

The pace showed no sign of relenting; indeed, the first quarter of the game had flown by, with Rovers firmly on top in terms of possession. The Gas should have opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, Grant was given all the time in the world inside the box, but his firmly-struck left-foot shot bounced straight back into play off the foot of Roberts’ left-hand post.

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Out of nowhere, Northampton were then gifted an early Christmas present as Taylor brought down Lewis just inside the box. Hoskins calmly sent Belshaw the wrong way, to give Northampton the lead totally against the run of play.

Rovers struggled to respond but won a corner as the half drew to a close. Evans took it and the ball rebounded around the Northampton box, with Roberts grateful to claim it as the whistle sounded for the end of the first period.

Harries joined Whelan in the notebook after pulling Etete’s shirt as Northampton controlled the opening minutes of the second half. Evans’ perseverance down the right won a corner in the 50th minute but a choreographed routine was ballooned over the bar by Finley from the edge of the box.

Rovers finally got the goal that their performance deserved after 53 minutes. Anderson’s beautiful, deep cross was firmly headed home by Grant, despite Roberts laying a glove on it. Anderson then chanced his arm from 25 yards, his low shot gathered by the Cobblers’ goalkeeper.

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Rovers had regained the momentum now and were again afforded lots of space down the flanks. Grant’s low cross very nearly found its way to Nicholson. The makeshift striker was soon back in the action though, as his interception set up the supporting Antony Evans, who coolly slotted under the advancing Roberts to put the Gas 2-1 up.

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The home support was now firmly behind their team as the action paused with Grant down receiving treatment. The left-back, who had put in a man-of-the-match performance, couldn’t continue and was replaced by Nick Anderton on 64 minutes.

Then the game swung back the visitors’ way as Whelan picked up a second yellow for a late, sliding tackle that Pinnock made the most of. Rovers now faced the final quarter with ten men and shuffled the defence, going to a back four, and replacing Evans with Luke Thomas.

Hoskins was then booked for a cynical foul on Anderson, who joined him in the book for shoving his opponent back as the game threatened to boil over. Before the kick could be taken, Town made a triple substitution, looking to give their 509 travelling supporters something to cheer.

Thomas’ free-kick was pawed away from the top corner by Roberts, before the resultant corner came to nothing. Nicholson then harried and chased the Northampton backline into a rushed clearance, before Belshaw claimed the ball as the visitors made a rare venture forward in the 83rd minute.

Nerves were jangling as Northampton launched a high ball into the Gas box, but Anderton – twice – dealt with the danger. Rovers now had eight minutes of injury time to contend with and should have conceded in the first of them, but substitute Connolly sliced horribly wide after Belshaw had initially parried a shot.

Then, finally, a last-gasp goal-line clearance from the EFL Young Player of the Month Connor Taylor secured a fine win for Joey Barton’s men.

Rovers welcome Oxford United to the Mem for our FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday, 16th November (7pm KO)

Rovers: James Belshaw, Josh Grant (64'), Alfie Kilgour, Sam Finley, Sam Nicholson (88'), Paul Coutts, Harry Anderson, Connor Taylor, Antony Evans (69'), Cian Harries, Glenn Whelan. 

Subs: Jed Ward, Zain Westbrooke, Aaron Collins (88'), Pablo Martinez, Sion Spence, Nick Anderton (64'), Luke Thomas (69').

Northampton Town: Liam Robers, Jon Guthrie, Fraser Horsfall (C), Sam Hoskins, Paul Lewis, Mitch Pinnock, Ali Koiki, Jordan Flores, Shaun McWilliams, Kion Etete, Dominic Revan. 

Subs: Jonathan Maxted, Michael Harriman, Aaron McGowan, Nicke Kabamba, Dylan Connolly, Scott Pollock, Danny Rose. 

 

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