Forest Green boss Rob Edwards banished the proverbial manager of the month hoodoo as his side leapfrogged Harrogate Town to return to the top of the table.
Crowned manager of the month for August, Edwards lauded his side after striker Jamille Matt banked his fifth goal of the season to provide the brightest moment in a turgid encounter.
Edwards beamed: “The lads were exceptional, it was a really hard game – Northampton are good at what they do and ask lots of questions of us, but we defended really well, but as the game progressed, and as we got into the second half we started to ask questions of them and created chances.
“We limited Northampton Town to very little. Liam Roberts made two or three great saves and I don’t know how they cleared the ball off the line – I was walking down the touchline as I thought Jammer (Jamille Matt) had scored. I thought Cadds (Nicky Cadden) and Kane (Wilson) were outstanding. We retained a real threat and we know we can get more from these players – but I’m delighted to get another three points.”
Picture slideshow: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images
In a first-half devoid of chances, it was Forest Green who fashioned the first opportunity – Scotsman Regan Hendry fizzed the ball out to Nicky Cadden who flicked the ball up to fizz a sumptuous strike towards the Northampton goal but keeper Liam Roberts did well to glove the stinging drive over.
In a war of attrition, Kane Wilson and Aaron McGowan traded yellow cards respectively for Rovers and the Cobblers.
The game remained deadlocked, but on the cusp of the break, Charlton Athletic loanee Jack Aitchison broke free to feed Matty Stevens who spanked his strike goalwards only for Roberts to touch over to bring an end to a wretched first 45 minutes.
The tempo upped after the break – the busy Aitchison inducing a plunging save from Roberts and Cadden bending one over.
Northampton were indebted again to the busy Roberts with 23 minutes to go – parrying Wilson’s howitzer to Matt who saw his poked strike cleared spectacularly off the line by the retreating McGowan.
Rovers broke the deadlock with 13 minutes to go – Cadden arrowed the ball into the box for Matt to plant a cushioned header beyond the sprawling Roberts..
Cobblers’ boss Jon Brady took the positives in defeat, he said:” Ultimately, very frustrating, but got to pick on the positives we’ve come away from a top of the table team, but apart from a 10-minute spell, we didn’t give Forest Green many other chances, but we sunk for 10 minutes and gave away cheap possession and we need to be better in those moments, but overall we must take some positives.”
Rovers: McGee, Wilson, Bernard, Sweeney, Stevenson, Cadden, Moore-Taylor, Hendry, Aitchison, Stevens (March 83), Matt (c)
Subs not used: Thomas, Allen, Evans, Edwards, Young, Diallo
Northampton: Roberts, McGowan, Horsfall (c), Guthrie, Koiki, McWilliams (Kabamba 80), Lewis, Flores (Pinnock 59), Hoskins, Rose, Etete (Connolly 59)
Subs not used: Maxted, Harriman, Sowerby, Pollock
Referee: Scott Oldham
Star Man: Nicky Cadden.