Ten men Vale lose on Opening Day with Benny Ashley-Seal’s goal the difference between the two sides.
Newly relegated Northampton were put under pressure early by the Valiants. Darrell Clarke’s team featured seven players making their debut with new signing Brad Walker trying to open his account early but his shot from outside the area went wide of Liam Roberts’ goal on 13 minutes. Six minutes later the Cobblers had their first chance of the game. Aaron Martin’s clearance was intercepted by Nicke Kabamba inside the area but he wasted a good opportunity by blasting it over the bar.
Northampton had aims to go straight back up this season and on 23 minutes clinched their first goal of the campaign. A loose ball in the area was collected by Ashley-Seal who turned and smashed a shot past Lucas Covolan from close range to put the hosts in front. Ten minutes later, Tom Pett went on a great solo run riding a sliding challenge and reaching the edge of the area. His shot was saved well by Roberts who held onto the ball at the second attempt.
James Wilson scored a screamer in our last friendly and was so close to getting us level with 42 minutes played. A great run from Devante Rodney, beating his man with ease, put Wilson in right in front of goal but his first-time effort just went past the post with the game remaining 1-0 at half time.
The Valiants started the half on top, getting a shot off in the first minute of the restart. Rodney received the ball from Walker and cut inside onto his right foot but could not get his shot on target as it rolled wide. A minute later Jordan Flores had an ambitious effort from 30 yards but the ball sailed over the bar by some distance.
55 minutes on the clock and we found ourselves a man down, Covolan lost possession outside of his area and collided with Kabamba which earnt him a red card. Aiden Stone replaced Ryan Johnson and did not have a lot to do until 80 minutes. Substitute Shaun McWilliams had an effort from distance but that was matched by a stunning save from Stone, diving to his left.
9 minutes later, Mitch Pinnock had a free-kick which struck the wall after Alex Hurst conceded the foul, the ball was collected by Ali Koiki who had his shot blocked by Martin. The Valiants kept the margin to one but could not level the game as it remained 1-0.
Northampton Town: Roberts, McGowan, Guthrie, Horsfall, Lewis, Kabamba, Connolly (79’ Koiki), Pinnock, Flores (69’ McWilliams), Ashley-Seal (53’ Rose), Mills
Subs not used: Maxted, Nelson, Etete, Chukwuemeka
Port Vale: Covolan (55’ Red Card), Jones, Walker (75’ Hurst), Smith, Worrall, Wilson (75’ Proctor), Conlon, Johnson (56’ Stone), Martin, Rodney, Pett
Subs not used: Legge, Garrity, Benning, Cass