Half-time: Northampton Town 0 Bristol Rovers 0
Bristol Rovers are standing strong in the face of rudimentary tactics to hold Northampton after a goal-less opening period at Sixfields this evening.
Aidy Boothroyd's side, who boast the second-best home record in League Two, have launched an aerial bombardment into the Rovers' penalty area, but have rarely threatened to register in an opening 45 minutes during which John Ward's side have probably carved out the better of the few chances.
Ward had been forced into one change after confirming that Seanan Clucas had suffered a season-ending knee injury at Morecambe on Saturday. Oliver Norburn slotted into central midfield as a repolacement, while the Rovers boss also kept faith with Eliot Richards and Tom Hitchcock in the absence of striker Ryan Brunt, who failed to travel after feeling a sore knee in training on Monday.
It was a defender, however, that caused goalkeeper Lee Nicholls a problem in the early exchanges; Michael Smith almost catching the Sixfields stopper out with a cross-come-shot.
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Northampton, though, looked dangerous with the ball at their feet, particularly down the flanks, although all they had to show for their early efforts was a Clive Platt header that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
A similar effort went the same way off the head of Adebayo Akinfenwa soon after, although Rovers were a little at sixes and sevens any time Northampton wideman Jake Robinson delivered a potent corner kick tantalisingly under Steve Mildenhall's crossbar.
Rovers, meanwhile, did manage to make the occasional break out with one in the 23rd minute ending in a good save by Nicholls after Joe Anyinsah had collected the ball off Tom Hitchcock on the edge of the penalty area and aimed a powerful drive goal-ward from the edge of the penalty area.
Northampton's rudimentary approach was perhaps best encapsulated by the long throws of defender Ben Tozer, but while the missile-like deliveries served to cause confusion in an around the six-yard box, Rovers continued to defend manfully.
For all the possession enjoyed by Boothroyd's side, however, Rovers continued to enjoy the more threatening chances with Norburn the next to sting Nicholls' hands with low drive on another foray into Northampton territory in the 35th minute.
Rovers (4-4-2): Mildenhall; Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown; Woodards, O'Toole, Norburn, Anyinsah; Hitchcock, Richards. Subs: Gough, Paterson, Harrison, Harding, Virgo, Goddard, Lockyer.
Northampton Town (4-4-2): Nicholls; Tozer, Carlisle, Langmead, Collins; Robinson, Hornby, Harding, O'Donovan; Platt, Akinfenwa. Subs: Johson, Guttridge, Demontagnac, Snedker, Oyeleke, Dias.