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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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23 March 2021 Venue PTS Academy Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW Northampton Town v Oxford United

A full guide to tonight's Sky Bet League 1 game

23 March 2021

Oxford United travel to Northampton Town in Sky Bet League 1 tonight.

TEAM NEWS
The U's are again without James Henry, Elliot Lee and Sam Long although all three are expected to return in the next couple of weeks. Henry and Lee should be available for the home game against Lincoln on Saturday with Long back in the squad for the trip to Sunderland a week later.

There were no new injuries after the game against Blackpool at the weekend although Karl Robinson is likely to continue with his rotation policy as United's gruelling schedule continues- no midweek game next week will end a nine week run of playing three games a week.

Hear the thoughts of Mide Shodipo and Mark Sykes and the full interview with Karl Robinson in iFollow right now where you can also see the whole game live.

You can stream the game HERE

THE OPPOSITION
Caretaker boss Jon Brady has steadied the ship at Northampton although defeat to Crewe on Saturday leaves them a point adrift of safety at the wrong end of the table.

“Crewe came for a fight on Saturday and we got caught up in the battle and didn’t play. That disappointed me, we can learn from it but we have to learn quickly" he said.

“Oxford are another energetic team who like to play but I feel we have done better against the better sides. We’ve got ten games to go and we will be trying to win every single one of them.

“Saturday has to be a blip, I know we can play a lot better than that and I expect us to on Tuesday night.”

GREEN RIBBONS
Both teams will again be wearing green ribbons tonight as a mark of respect for Harry Dunn. Harry lived half way between the two clubs and was known to OUFC staff while father Tim is a Northampton Town season ticket holder.

00 151220 northampton 2nd (51).jpg

PROGRAMME
Northampton produce a digital programme for matches and tonight's version can be read, free, HERE

COVERAGE
As well as live coverage on iFollow we have all the build up on twitter and on our official Insta page, complete with behind the scenes exclusive content, plus a full report and Gallery right here on the final whistle and reaction from all the key men in iFollow.

Northampton Videos

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Match Reports

REPORT Northampton Town 1 Oxford United 0

U's lose at the Cobblers. Full time report

23 March 2021

A second half goal from Sam Hoskins was enough to give Northampton Town a priceless three points tonight as the U's lost 1-0 at the PTS Academy Stadium.

United were curiously flat for the second game in a row until a frantic finale and paid the price when Hoskins slotted home a neat finish to decide a scrappy game in which the U's worked hard with little to show for it.

It might have been different had they taken the lead in just the fourth minute when Rob Atkinson’s close-range effort looked over the line and was possibly cleared with an arm, but play went on and Atkinson took revenge by blasting his next effort into a Cobblers’ cobblers from even closer range. Hilarious to all but the stricken defender.

That first effort had come from a Joe Grayson set piece and the on-loan Blackburn man’s delivery with his left foot added a new weapon on his league debut, notable after Karl Robinson described his team’s set-plays as ‘abysmal’ in the defeat to Blackpool on Saturday.

This time they looked stronger from set pieces. Ruffels and Atkinson both headed good deliveries wide before the break and Winnall had nodded one into Mitchell’s arms, but they didn't open up Northampton too much from open play and the home side looked energetic, forcing Atkinson and skipper Elliott Moore into sliding blocks inside the first 20 minutes, without truly looking like getting close to Jack Stevens.

When Danny Rose did get a sight at goal after 25 minutes he was closed down by Winnall and the shooting opportunity was denied once more, although Winnall’s better work was at the other end of the pitch where he linked things together cleverly and helped create space for Dan Agyei in particular to exploit down the right.

United rode their luck at times with at least three crosses missing Northampton strikers by inches, but the best chance of the first half for the home side came for winger Mark Marshall, who struck the left-hand post after United had left him far too much space inside the area.

The dangerous Agyei had United’s best chance of the night soon after when he curled a great effort towards the far corner only for former United loanee Jonny Mitchell to touch it round the post at full stretch, but what the game needed was a goal and ten minutes into the second half it came at the wrong end when some uncharacteristically hesitant defending from the U's allowed the home side to go ahead.

Stevens shanked a kick into touch but there didn't seem too much immediate danger when the Cobblers threw the ball in. One flick on and suddenly Hoskins was in on goal, joyously slamming the ball past the startled Stevens and putting the home side a goal up.

United needed a response. Jamie Hanson, Mark Sykes and Brandon Barker were given the last half hour to try and find that extra energy, but Northampton were determined to hold on to a priceless lead that could mean so much as they strive to stay in League 1.

They might have made it 2-0 when Fraser Horsfall went close with a header from a set-piece on 73 minutes but they began to drop deeper and deeper and look more tense by the minute as United threw men forward. Ruffels volleyed over, Brannagan's 25-yard drive slipped through Mitchell's fingers but went inches over, Moore headed the corner wide. All close but not quite close enough.

Not quite a 'must win' game but that time is coming. Successive games against promotion chasing Lincoln and Sunderland now follow. Time to show what this United side can truly do...

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Darrell Fisher, Stats by OPTA

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