Harding helps Cobblers edge U’s

Ben Harding grabbed the only goal of the game as promotion

hopefuls Northampton beat Oxford 1-0 at a snow-covered

Sixfields.

Harding almost caught Oxford napping with a deft chip while

Clarke Carlisle headed over as Cobblers made the better start.

Oxford were slow to get into their stride but former Cobbler

Liam Davies tested Lee Nicholls with a low drive and Damian Batt

fired wide.

Cobblers still created the better chances, though, Adebayo

Akinfenwa heading over and ex-Oxford winger Chris Hackett forcing

Luke McCormick to save at his near post. In between, Tom Craddock

was denied by Nicholls as Oxford got into the contest.

But Cobblers finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of

half-time when McCormick could only palm out Hackett’s testing

cross and Harding fired home from 15 yards.

James Constable was denied by Nicholls after the restart, Andy

Whing mis-kicked from close range before then seeing his header

punched clear by the Cobblers ‘keeper.

Akinfenwa missed a great chance to double Northampton’s

advantage as Oxford pressed for a late equaliser, substitute Deane

Smalley heading just over while Constable was twice foiled by

Nicholls.