Northampton Town (1) – QPR (1)

Team: Smithies, Onuoha, Caulker, Hall, Perch, Shodipo, Henry, Gladwin, Luongo, Chery, Polter

Subs Not Used: Ingram, Furlong, Kpekawa, Doughty, Emmanuel-Thomas

Attendance: 2,423 (including 663 R’s fans)

On a scorching afternoon, Joe English collected Alan Barnes, Ron Hill and myself from outside Harrow & Wealdstone Railway Station.

We parked up close to the Sixfields Stadium and headed to the ‘Flaming Grill’ for pre-match refreshments.

Two sides of the ground were opened up with the travelling Rangers fans situated behind one of the goals.

Very few chances were being created by either side, but in the latter stages of the first-half, Seb Polter blazed the ball over the crossbar following a corner.

The R’s then went much closer when a fabulous dipping shot from Tjaronn Chery was put over the bar for a corner. Earlier he had shot straight at Adam Smith after being set up by Seb Polter. Half-time: 0-0.
ntfc2Jordan Cousins was a welcome introduction after the break as Karl Henry made way.

Nineteen-year-old Olamide Shodipo was having a superb game and following a great cross from the left flank, his first effort was blocked and the second agonisingly evaded the far post. Then after taking control of the ball in the box, he tried to line up his shot, which was then blocked.

Rangers were enjoying plenty of possession and creating good chances. Chery was through in the box, but he hesitated pulling the trigger, then went down, and the subsequent appeals for a penalty were not justified, as it was clearly a superb challenge from the Cobblers defender.

However, there was a very good shout for a spot kick when Shodipo was fouled close to the bye-line after his shot had been saved by the keeper’s legs!

At the other end, Alex Smithies was forced to stretch upwards to hold onto the ball and later the home side went close when the ball flashed dangerously across the goalmouth

After 70 minutes, Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink brought on Nasser El Khayati for the excellent Olamide Shodipo.

Ten minutes later, El Khayati gave QPR the lead when he curled his shot from the edge of the box, which then took a deflection before hitting the bottom corner.

Jordan Cousins put a ball in from the left, which set up Chery, but his shot was aimed straight at the Northampton keeper.

The home side equaliser came on 86 minutes when Alex Revell caught up with Adam Smith’s upfield punt, who then belted the ball past Alex Smithies on the half-volley.

Rangers could well have still won the game when a great cross from the left bye-line into the six-yard box fell to Seb Polter, but the opportunity was lost when he hesitated to shoot and the ball was cleared.

My thanks to Joe English for the lift.

Steve Russell