Exeter City suffered back-to-back defeats as goals from Aaron Pierre and Andy Williams condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at Northampton Town.
The Grecians, who struggled to create chances in the first half, were much better after the break and pulled a goal back through Aaron Martin but couldn’t find an equaliser.
City manager Matt Taylor made four changes from the side that lost to Tranmere Rovers last time out as Jonathan Forte, Alex Hartridge, Aaron Martin and Nicky Law all came into the team at the expense of Pierce Sweeney, Randell Williams, Lee Holmes and Donovan Wilson.
It was a slow start to the game as only Sam Hoskins’ wayward shot after five minutes threatening either goal, before the Grecians, who struggled for possession and territory in the opening 20 minutes, sprung to life and should have taken the lead.
The chance came from a good run forward by Nicky Law, that created an opening for Jake Taylor. However, his shot was blocked and when the ball was worked to Matt Jay seven yards from goal he had two follow up efforts also charged down by Northampton defenders.
The opening goal came seven minutes after that as Marvin Sordell headed a cross, from a short corner routine, onto the crossbar and as the ball fell kindly to Aaron Pierre he nodded home from a yard out despite the attempts from Dara O’Shea to block his effort on the line.
After that there was only one more clearcut opening as a long ball over the top of the City defence created problems and Daniel Powell ran through on goal only to have his shot well blocked by the legs of Christy Pym.
Matt Taylor made two changes at the break as Lee Holmes and Hiram Boateng came on for Alex Hartridge and Archie Collins.
The changes, which also saw City switch to a 4-4-2 formation, seemed to have a positive impact as Jay warmed the gloves of David Cornell with a first time shot after 54 minutes. However, slightly against the run of play, Northampton extended their lead as Daniel Powell got in on the left side of the box and squared a ball for Williams to tap home at the far post.
Four minutes later though and City were back in the match as Jay’s corner was headed goalwards by Jonathan Forte. Cornell, again, produced a good save but Aaron Martin was there to follow up and not the ball home.
Matt Taylor, in the final quarter of an hour, sent on Ryan Bowman for Law and the striker was close to getting an equaliser when Lee Holmes hung a right-wing cross up to the back post but the home side managed to clear for a corner.
In the end, it was the hosts who came closest to getting a goal in the closing stages as Andy Williams’ turn and shot inside the area forced Pym into a finger-tip save.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Buchanan, Goode, A Taylor, Hoskins, Foley, D Powell (J Powell, 78), Pierre, Turnbull, O’Toole (Elsnik, 90+1), Sordell (A Williams, 34). Sub: Coddington, J Wiliams, Bowditch, Bridge.
Booked: A Taylor
Exeter City: Pym, Woodman, O’Shea, A Martin, Law (Bowman, 77), Forte, Jay, K Wilson, Taylor, Collins (Boateng, 45), Hartridge (Holmes, 45). Subs not used: Hamon, Holmes, R Williams, Bowman, J Brown, T Brown, Boateng.
Attendance: 4,954 (412, away)