Well deserved point at Sixfields
Northampton Town 0
Bristol Rovers 0
A third excellent team performance in a week gave Rovers a point from a goalless draw against Northampton and extended their unbeaten run to five.
Both goalkeepers were in excellent form, especially in the second half, when each produced an outstanding save and Rovers’ back line was once again in impressive form.
Manager John Ward had to make an enforced change to his starting lineup, with Ollie Clarke coming in for the injured Alan Gow.
Chances were at a premium in the first half as both sides gave away possession quite cheaply, though given the importance of the game then perhaps it was understandable.
Steve Mildenhall rushed off his line to thwart an early Northampton attack and a tenth minute effort from Chris Hackett was deflected over for the game’s first corner.
Rovers then threatened through David Clarkson but when the striker received the ball in the area he was unable to get a shot away under pressure and the ball came off his boot and rolled through to goalkeeper Matt Duke.
What was probably the best chance of the half fell to home striker Emile Sinclair, who avoided the challenges of Tom Parkes and Mark McChrystal but fired his shot straight at Mildenhall.
Three successive Rovers corners, all taken by Lee Brown, came to nothing, though Chris Beardsley headed just wide from the third of them.
At the other end Mark McChrystal blocked a shot from Darren Carter while Kaid Mohamed saw his shot rebound off of three home defenders.
John-Joe O’Toole also saw a shot blocked while an ambitious 40 yard effort from Tom Parkes sailed wide of the mark and, in stoppage time, O’Toole curled another ambitious effort wide of goal.
Ollie Clarke’s powerful shot at the start of the second half was saved by Duke but there was a scare for Rovers at the other end when a cross from Chris Hackett hit the inside of the post and rebounded into play.
Mildenhall picked up a yellow card after a foolish nudge on John Marquis when a more inexperienced official might well have produced a red.
Kaid Mohamed’s overhead kick sailed wide of the upright before Rovers were denied a goal by the brilliance of goalkeeper Matt Duke.
Michael Smith’s long throw was gathered by Steven Gillespie and his low cross into the area was met by Clarkson whose shot was somehow touched away by Duke diving low to his right. From the resulting corner
Tom Parkes’ header was cleared off the line by Leon McSweeney.
Clarke hit another shot straight at Duke while Mildenhall saved well from Marquis before making an outstanding double save.
First of all he touched a shot from Brennan Dickinson on to the post and then got up to touch the follow up effort from Marquis behind for a corner.
There were half chances for both sides before the end, but neither could break the deadlock and had to settle for a point.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Kaid Mohamed, Ollie Clarke, John-Joe O’Toole, Tom Lockyer, David Clarkson (Alefe Santos, 77), Chris Beardsley (Steven Gillespie, 56).
Substitutes: Danny Woodards, Ellis Harrison, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough, Seanan Clucas
Yellow Card: Mildenhall
Northampton Town: Matt Duke, Leon McSweeney, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, Zander Diamond, Gregor Robertson, Chris Hackett, Ricky Ravenhill, Darren Carter, Brennan Dickenson (Ian Morris, 87), Alan Connell, Emile Sinclair (John Marquis, 64)
Substitutes: Ben Tozer, Dean Snedker, Gary Deegan, Ivan Toney, Antonio German
Yello Card: Carter
Referee: Mick Russell
Away Attendance: 730