Derby’s promotion hopes were dealt a major blow as they suffered a narrow 1-0 League One defeat at midtable Northampton.

The Cobblers’ first win in six games – and their first ever over Derby – came thanks to Sam Hoskins’ first-half strike, his 15th goal of the season.

Derby dominated possession early on and they should taken a 20th-minute lead but Martyn Waghorn side-footed the ball over with the goal at his mercy.

Northampton struck against the run of play midway through the first half when Louis Appere chased down a long ball and showed brilliant vision to pick out Hoskins, who volleyed first time into the bottom corner.

The visitors responded well but they could not find a leveller before half-time despite Ebou Adams twice going close, first denied by Sam Sherring’s goal-line clearance and then heading over when well placed.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing almost converted Kane Wilson’s cross after the restart before Manny Monthe hit the post at the other end.

Derby applied plenty of late pressure but could find no way through Northampton’s resilient rearguard and their misery was compounded by a straight red card for Sonny Bradley in stoppage-time.

Managers Shaun Maloney and Jon Brady both declared themselves satisfied after Northampton and Wigan shared the points in a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sixfields.

The Cobblers led through Sam Hoskins’ 16th-minute penalty, awarded for a foul by Latics goalkeeper Sam Tickle on Kieron Bowie, but the visitors struck back and netted a deserved equaliser through Josh Magennis after 64 minutes.

It was a match of few clear-cut chances, with Wigan dominating possession for the most part, and both bosses were pleased to come away with a point for their efforts.

“Wigan are a good side, they move the ball well and cause you all sorts of problems with their shape,” said Brady.

“They pull you apart constantly, and we knew that would happen.

“It was the hardest I have had to work all week to try and nullify all of that, and the boys worked extremely hard.

“Then you look at their resources and what they bring on, Charlie Wyke, Callum McManaman, the Smiths, and jeez.

“But what we have got is heart and huge desire, and we dig in.

“I think their position in the table is pretty false, and without the points deduction they’d be in and around us, so I feel overall, although it can be better, I am quite pleased with that today.”

Maloney felt the point was the least his team deserved.

The Latics enjoyed a 67 per cent share of possession as the away team, and Maloney said: “The performance was right up there with the levels we showed in the 1-1 draw at Barnsley on New Year’s Day, but in a different way.

“At Barnsley we played on the counter-attack, today I thought we were very good with the ball on a really difficult pitch, and it is even harder when you go 1-0 down.

“Mistakes like the one for their goal happen, you are going to get that with some of the younger boys, but I thought we played very, very well. I was really happy with everybody.

“We went in 1-0 down, but the performance in the first half was very, very good.

“We didn’t need to change anything, we just needed to be a bit more aggressive and the response in the second half was good.

“It is difficult sometimes when you stand here if you draw or you get beaten and the performance has been good, but today I have nothing but good things to say about my players.”

Burton boss Dino Maamria was heavily critical of his side’s “really poor” performance as they were beaten 2-0 by out-of-form Northampton at Sixfields.

A tight first half ended in stalemate but the Cobblers dominated the second and goals from Marc Leonard and Sam Hoskins ended their six-game winless run in all competitions.

Burton themselves are now five games without a win in all competitions and their manager had no complaints.

“It was a poor performance,” admitted Maamria. “We were outfought and outplayed and the second half especially was really poor.

“There wasn’t much in the first half so the message at half-time was to push more bodies forward and play more forward but we didn’t do that.

“They scored a brilliant goal and that probably galvanised them but I’m really disappointed with our response because we didn’t get going after that and they dominated us.

“The most disappointing thing is that we were outfought in every department. They won first and second balls, they closed us down, they got behind the ball quicker and they asked more questions.

“There are ways to lose games and you don’t lose like we did today. Northampton are in a difficult moment and the goal helped them and they finished the game better, but we were outfought and that’s not like us.

“We missed easy chances. We should have got one goal back near the end and if you do that, it’s a different game, but we deserved absolutely nothing today and I’m gutted for our fans because they turned up in their numbers.”

It was a much-needed win for Northampton boss Jon Brady.

“I’m really pleased with the performance,” he said. “We needed that and every player came to the table.

“That’s the type of energy, work-rate and tempo we need because that’s our tempo.

“It’s been tough because we’ve been playing the same players week in, week out but today we were able to freshen it up with players coming back in. That makes one hell of a difference and we looked more physical and had more about us.

“The game opened up in the second half. Tactically, they went to 4-4-2 so the midfield opened up more and if we won their balls in good areas, we were able to get in behind us and play forward and more space opened up.

“That helped us and then we broke on them brilliantly after we got the first goal.

“On top of that, our energy to get back into shape was excellent so a lot of key things worked for us today and the boys implemented what we had worked on so full credit to them.”

Northampton ended their six-game winless run by beating Burton 2-0 at Sixfields in League One.

After a tight first half, the Cobblers dominated the second and came away with all three points thanks to goals from Marc Leonard and Sam Hoskins.

Joe Powell curled an early free-kick over the angle of post and crossbar as Burton made a bright start before the home side grew into the game and enjoyed a good spell of their own.

But goalmouth action was at a premium in the first half as both sides lacked quality and creativity in the final third, with neither goalkeeper forced to make a save of note.

Northampton broke the deadline nine minutes into the second half when Leonard picked out the top corner with a terrific strike from long range.

Burton goalkeeper Max Crocombe kept out Mitch Pinnock’s header from a fast counter-attack and he was also alert when denying Leonard on two separate occasions.

But the Cobblers did eventually wrap up all three points when Hoskins showed excellent composure in a crowded penalty box to find the bottom corner 12 minutes from time.

Northampton boss Jon Brady hailed Sam Hoskins’ ability to pop up in the right place at the right time after his late strike sealed a 1-0 win at Cheltenham.

The only goal of a largely uninspiring game arrived in the 88th minute after a ball over the top of the home defence from Sam Sherring and a slip from Lewis Freestone left Hoskins with only Luke Southwood to beat.

He confidently beat the goalkeeper for his third of the season and Cheltenham rarely troubled Max Thompson in the Cobblers goal.

“It just feels great to get the win away from home against a team you’re probably expected to compete with in same area of the table,” Brady said.

“I felt we came here really positively and again we dominated the ball for most of the game. There was probably a five or 10 minute period in the second half – it felt longer at the time – where we wobbled a little bit and they went more brave. They moved to three at the back, pushed their wing-backs right in and went very direct and tried to land on things.

“I think they only had a couple of shots over the bar and three or four crosses and we had to defend that period well, but we made the changes and I felt we could get in behind their defence.

“Lo and behold we did and there you go – it’s that man again Sam Hoskins who scores a late winner. He’s got a knack of that, which is lovely, and to come away with three points feels really good.”

Will Ferry sent a shot over the bar for the home side in the third minute, but Northampton went on to control much of the opening period.

Patrick Brough smashed an effort wide in the 17th minute and Kieron Bowie was off target after good work from Louis Appere in the 23rd minute.

Sherring saw a header hit the bar after Marc Leonard’s corner five minutes later.

Elliot Bonds curled an effort over the bar in the 61st minute and Luciano D’Auria-Henry’s header was kicked away by Sherring in the six-yard box as Cheltenham showed an improvement.

But Hoskins had the final say as promoted Northampton made it seven points from their last three games.

Cheltenham boss Wade Elliott admitted his side need attacking reinforcements before the transfer window closes on Friday night.

“I really feel for the players because in the second half it looked like if one team was going to edge it, it was going to be us,” Elliott said.

“I thought we were on top in the second half, but ultimately, we can’t keep relying on clean sheets to accumulate points. It’s pretty obvious where we are a little bit deficient at the minute.

“In terms of attacking changes, we were very light. In most departments, we are probably OK, but it’s obvious which departments we need help in.”

Sam Hoskins scored a 98th-minute equaliser as Northampton picked up their first point of the season with a dramatic 2-2 draw against Lincoln.

The visitors led 2-0 at Sixfields with only four minutes to play but Louis Appere’s smart finish and Hoskins’ dramatic strike salvaged a deserved point for the Cobblers.

Northampton made all of the early running and went close through Tyreece Simpson and Mitch Pinnock, but Lincoln struck first when Ethan Erhahon found Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and he brilliantly fired into the top corner from 20 yards.

Hoskins glanced a header onto the roof of the net in first-half stoppage-time and somehow the Cobblers were not level early in the second half when Lukas Jensen saved from Pinnock before two follow-up efforts were scrambled off the line.

Sam Sherring headed against the post from a corner and Northampton were hit by the sucker punch 12 minutes from time when Paudie O’Connor headed in Lasse Sorensen’s cross.

But the home side responded superbly as Appere finished well with just four minutes to play, and then Hoskins volleyed home with virtually the last kick of the game to rescue a fully deserved point.

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