Live Commentary: Cheltenham Town 0-1 Northampton Town (0-2) - as it happened

Whaddon Road
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Read how Northampton progressed to the League Two playoff final thanks to a 1-0 win in the second leg against Cheltenham.

Northampton Town took a one-goal lead to Cheltenham Town for the second leg of their League Two playoff semi-final this evening.

The Cobblers progressed to the final at Wembley, where they will play Bradford City, thanks to another 1-0 triumph in the second leg.

Read how it all unfolded at Whaddon Road in our minute-by-minute updates below.


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5.46pmEvening all! The Football League playoffs are in full swing now and the League Two final will be decided this evening.

5.48pmEarlier today Bradford reached the final by seeing off Burton Albion 5-4 on aggregate. The Bantams finished in the bottom playoff place - seventh - but managed to turn the tie around after losing the home leg 3-2 on Thursday.

5.49pmThat means that Bradford will travel to Wembley for the second time this season! Surely no-one can forget their miraculous run to the League Cup final?! They saw off the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa but couldn't maintain their level of performance against Swansea, losing 5-0 in the final.

5.51pmAnyway, enough of Cheltenham or Northampton's opponents in the final, let's focus on tonight's game in the West Midlands.

5.52pmThe teams are just reaching us from Whaddon Road...

5.53pmCHELTENHAM XI: Brown; Lowe, Elliott, Hector, Jombatti; McGlashan, Pack, Penn, Deering; Benson, Duffy

5.57pmThe Cobblers' lineup is yet to filter through so let's take a closer look at the home side's XI. Mark Yates has made a pair of changes to the side that went down in Northampton on Thursday, with Sam Deering and Darryl Duffy replacing Kaid Mohamed and Byron Harrison.

6.01pmDefender Michael Hector was Yates's main injury concern after he came off early against Northampton on Thursday. It appears he's well enough to start though.

6.04pmCHELTENHAM SUBS: Roberts, Jones, Carter, Taylor, Mohamed, Harrison, Harrad

6.06pmNORTHAMPTON XI: Nicholls, Johnson, Carlisle, Cameron, Collins; Hackett, Guttridge, Harding, Tozer, O’Donovan, Akinfenwa

6.08pmThere's one change from Aidy Boothroyd, with John Johnson taking the place of Ishmel Demontagnac.

6.10pmNORTHAMPTON SUBS: Snedker, Demontagnac, Platt, Robinson, Moult, Langmead, Hornby

6.12pmClive Platt and Kelvin Langmead were expected to challenge for a starting role but neither man has quite made it into Boothroyd's side. The former Watford boss continues with the huge Adebayo Akinfenwa up front.

6.15pmHere's what the Northampton Twitter account has just said: "This is what it's all about, play-off second leg in the searing heat and 1500+ Cobblers fans in full voice."

6.18pmREFEREE WATCH! The man in charge today is Andy Madley.

6.21pmThe Cobblers may have won Thursday's first leg, but they lost the two league matches during the regular season against Cheltenham this year. The Robins won 3-2 at Sixfields in December before clinching a 1-0 at home in April.

6.24pmCheltenham will be very confident of avoiding defeat today. They have not lost in front of their home supporters since Everton thrashed them 5-1 in the third round of the FA Cup on January 7.

6.27pmBoth of these sides have been in the fourth tier for four years now. Northampton just about avoided relegation last term while Cheltenham had a much better season, losing 2-0 to Crewe in last year's final at Wembley. Nick Powell, now of Manchester United, scored my favourite goal at the new Wembley. Remember it?

6.30pmIf you don't, enjoy...


6.32pmWEATHER WATCH:

6.34pmCheltenham manager Yates has just told Sky Sports News that he thinks Northampton have stuck an extra man in midfield to try and stop them passing. Yates says that their impressive unbeaten run at home does give them belief.

6.36pmYates's opposite number Boothroyd says that the Cobblers much approach the game in the same way as the first leg. He thinks that the key to tonight is dealing with the pressure.

6.40pmPREDICTION TIME! It's a real tough one to call tonight. I honestly think that no-one is favourite to go through, despite Northampton's narrow lead from Thursday. I'm going to plump for a draw on the night and that will see the Cobblers through to the final.

6.42pmHere come the two teams out of the tunnel. Cheltenham are back in their home strip of claret and white while Northampton have donned a rather ghastly neon green away kit.

6.44pmIt appears that Boothroyd has indeed changed his formation slightly, with the monster that is Akinfenwa up top on his own and goalscorer from Thursday Roy O'Donovan on the left and Chris Hackett on the right. Here we go!

0 minKICKOFF! Madley blows his whistle for the first time and Northampton get us underway.

1 minGood start from the hosts. Deering cuts in from the left and reverses it for Duffy and his toepoked cutback is just about cleared.

3 minThe Cobblers have PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle in their ranks but he's just played a very unprofessional backpass to young keeper Lee Nicholls, who is on loan from Wigan, but he deals with it, just.

4 minI have a good friend who is a Northampton fan and he tells me that Nicholls could be a future England stopper. Let's see what he's got tonight.

6 minTasty challenge from Johnson on Penn near the halfway line and Madley blows for the free kick. No card.

6 minSHOT! The ball is floated into the area and a flick-on finds Benson who turns and shoots but it's straight at Nicholls. The pitch is not in a good way and the goalmouth especially is not a pretty sight. Bobbles galore!

7 minCHANCE! Almost a key goal for the Cobblers! Akinfenwa shows that he isn't all muscle by laying it in to O'Donovan very nicely but his shot takes a slight deflection and whizzes into the side-netting. Closest we've come to a goal.

10 minHuge roar from the visiting fans as Carlisle shepherds the ball out well under pressure from Benson. Cheltenham have been on top since that O'Donovan chance.

12 minMeaty challenges from both sides as first Penn wipes out Guttridge before Cameron goes in hard on McGlashan. Neither men are booked but their next foul may warrant a yellow.

14 minPENALTY TO CHELTENHAM! Tozer gives the ball away and then hacks down Penn but the initial contact was outside the box.

15 minSAVED! Nicholls with a fine save from Pack's penalty.

15 minThe home fans go wild behind the goal. That was a great save by the youngster.

16 minNorthampton need to concentrate here! Duffy manages to wriggle through a pair of challenges and he's to a free shot at goal but drags it into the side-netting. Should have done much better there.

19 minThe visitors are dangerous from set pieces with the likes of Akinfenwa, Carlisle and Cameron and they're plonking themselves right under the nose of keeper Brown. Harding's delivery is a good one but Cheltenham defend well.

20 minTozer also has a huge throw and he launches one into the area that Cheltenham again head out confidently.

21 minSAVE! Pack won't be disheartened by that penalty miss as he lays claim to a free kick about 30 yards out. He hits it Didier Drogba-esque with the side of his foot and Nicholls has to get down low to palm it out.

22 minFrom the resulting corner Elliott is left all alone at the back post and instead of heading back across goal he heads it straight at Nicholls. Another chance gone for the hosts.

26 minThat's the first real time that the visitors have tossed a ball up for Akinfenwa and the number 10 duly wins it for the onrushing Guttridge. However, the linesman's flag was up and it's a free kick to Cheltenham.

28 minGOAL! Cheltenham 0-1 Northampton (Guttridge)

28 minWhat a goal! Surely the goal of the playoffs so far and one of the strikes of the season! Akinfenwa lays it off for Guttridge and it bounces up kindly for the number eight to lash a volley beautifully over Brown and into the net. Stunning.

30 minGuttridge wants another as he manages to work a yard of space on the edge of the area but he can't quite get the ball out from under his feet and his shot is easy for Brown to catch.

33 minSilly, silly foul from Jombatti. The Cheltenham left-back had won the ball off Hackett and teammate Penn was just about to sweep up but Jombatti tugged back Hackett needlessly.

34 minA corner is floated over and Hector is there but he can't generate enough pace on it and Nicholls makes another save.

35 minYELLOW! Goal hero Guttridge is shown a yellow card for a nasty scrape on Penn's calf. Right decision from Madley.

35 minThe free kick reaches McGlashan in behind on the right and he fires over a cross that Nicholls does brilliantly to come and claim. I mentioned beforehand how he could be one for the future and he's had a fabulous game so far.

37 minSAVE! Almost a freak goal for Northampton as a long throw is headed out to Hackett and he tries to help it back into the area but overhits it. The ball looks destined for the top corner though and Brown has to be alert to tip it wide.

40 minBoth sides have lethal long throw takers and Pack for Cheltenham has just launched one into the box that Benson flicked about a yard wide of the far post.

41 minThe Cobblers fans are singing "SHOE ARMY!" I like that.

43 minNorthampton have a free kick left of the area but it's floated harmlessly into the arms of Brown by Harding.

44 minDuffy tries something even more audacious than Guttridge did for the goal but his looping volley sails well wide.

44 minStrange decision from referee Madley to award Cheltenham a free kick even though Guttridge won the ball and McGlashan kicked him. Boothroyd may have to think about taking off the goalscorer as he's already been booked and a couple more challenges could see him off.

45 minTwo minutes have been added on at the end of the first half. Boothroyd will be delighted if his side can go in one ahead.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: Cheltenham 0-1 Northampton (0-2 on aggregate)

7.36pmA great half of football in Gloucestershire. The pitch isn't leading to the beautiful game but what's on stake is making it a very tense affair. Cheltenham were in the ascendency for most of the first period but a missed penalty at one end and a sublime volley at the other mean it's Northampton who are all smiles at the break.

7.39pmLooking at the stats, it's been a very even half at Whaddon Road. Cheltenham have had six shots, Northampton five, while the Cobblers have impressively edged the possession 54%-46%.

7.43pmWhat will Yates be saying to his men in the dressing room? The Robins certainly aren't out of this as they definitely can score twice in the second 45. Will they be able to prevent another Northampton goal on the counter though?

7.46pmHere's what the two clubs have just tweeted:

Cheltenham: "Brilliant Guttridge volley edges Northamton closer to Wembley."
Northampton: "Has anyone got any nails left? This is going to be a long 45 minutes."

46 minKICKOFF! We're back underway at Whaddon Road.

47 minNeither manager has made a substitution at half time, by the way. No chances in the second 45 yet.

48 minYELLOW! Hmmmm. Northampton's keeper Nicholls has just been booked for time wasting in the 48th minute. Seems harsh from Madley as he could have given the youngster a warning first.

52 minAnother mighty launch from Tozer and once more Cheltenham defend well as Brown rises and holds onto the ball. Cheltenham need something soon you feel.

53 minTonight's confirmed attendance tonight of 5955, with 1546 of those visiting Cobblers.

55 minCarlisle slips and slices the ball down the line but luckily for the PFA chairman his centre-back partner Cameron is there to sweep up.

56 minCheltenham want a penalty as McGlashan is eased out by Collins at the back post but it's the right call from Madley to wave it away.

59 minLovely cross from Lowe that causes plenty of hesitancy in the Northampton backline but there's no Cheltenham shirts there to turn it home and Nicholls watches it wide.

60 minCheltenham are turning up the heat. A lovely flick around the corner from Benson releases Deering and his cross is blocked by Cameron before Nicholls come out and smothers. Half an hour left for the Robins to turn it around.

62 minCHELTENHAM SUB: First change of the game comes from Yates and he brings on former Cobbler Shaun Harrad for Duffy.

66 minFree kick to Cheltenham about 30 yards out. Pack lines it up...

67 minIt's another good strike from the number seven but this time it flies a yard or so over the crossbar.

70 minNice cross from Lowe as he cuts across it and fizzes it to the back post. Benson is the man there but he can't grow enough and his header goes harmlessly into the stand.

72 minNORTHAMPTON SUB: The big man Akinfenwa is off and he's replaced by centre-back Kelvin Langmead. O'Donovan should go and lead the line.

72 minCHANCE! Northampton almost seal their place at Wembley as Guttridge's tackle loops over the top for Hackett and he bears down on goal. His second touch is a little heavy but he still gets a shot away that Brown saves.

73 minCHELTENHAM SUB: McGlashan has been disappointing today and he's replaced by Kaid Mohamed.

74 minAlmost a horrible mix-up in the Northampton defence as Nicholls claims a loose ball but then has it headed out of his hands by his own man. Luckily the Cobblers are able to clear.

75 minNORTHAMPTON SUB: Goalscorer Guttridge is on a yellow and Boothroyd doesn't want to risk him so he's off for young Lewis Hornby. Guttridge's goal really was something and well worth a watch if you get a chance.

76 minOFF THE BAR! Almost a great goal out of nothing for Cheltenham! Centre-back Hector beats Langmead down the right and delivers a wonderful cross that substitute Mohamed meets, thundering a header off the underside of the bar. Northampton survive!

78 minBoothroyd has told Langmead to go and cause problems up front. He's not fully fit so his job is simply to be a nuisance.

79 minSAVE! Cheltenham are well on top now and they've just come close once more. A cross makes its way to Deering coming in at the back post and he fires with his left foot but its straight at Nicholls who again does well to keep it out.

80 minThe young keeper stays down from a challenge following the save but he's OK to carry on. The Cobblers remain two goals ahead with just 10 left.

82 minLangmead does really well to turn it on for Hackett but his low cross is just ahead of O'Donovan at the back post. The visitors could definitely nick one on the counter with the pace of those two.

84 min"Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we're going to Wem-ber-ley, que sera sera!" sing the Northampton fans. Only a miracle can shut them up in this last five.

87 minHackett brings a high ball down nicely and then cuts in onto his right but his shot is blocked. Surely Cheltenham will now make a final push.

88 minIf there's one part of Nicholls's game that has looked a little weak it's his kicking and he's just scuffed one along the ground but luckily it bobbles safe.

88 minCHELTENHAM SUB: Final roll of the dice for Yates as he throws in Byron Harrison for Penn.

90 minSAVE! Harrad twists and turns in the box, managing to get a shot off from a tight angle that Nicholls again does brilliantly to beat away.

90+1 minFOUR minutes added on at the end as Nicholls again holds on to a cross.

90+3 minInto the final couple of minutes and Lowe decides to try his luck from range but it's too close to Nicholls who once again holds the ball safely.

90+4 minHector has a pop but it's an average strike that bobbles through to Nicholls. The Cobblers are there, no way back for Cheltenham now.

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Cheltenham 0-1 Northampton (0-2 on aggregate) The Cobblers will face Bradford in the League Two playoff final on May 18.

8.39pmGuttridge tells Sky Sports News that he hit his volley "sweet as a nut". Too right Sir.

8.41pmA great away performance from Aidy Boothroyd's men and they deserve to go through over the two legs.

8.43pmThanks for joining Sports Mole this evening. I'll leave you with our match report. Be sure to join us on May 18 for updates on final. See you then.

Sixfields
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