SPENCER PEGS BACK COBBLERS
CHRIS Wilder could only sit back and admire his opposite number’s extravagant celebration after Cambridge snatched a point against his Northampton side.
It looked like the Cobblers would secure another three points in their push for the title when Millwall loanee John Marquis headed home with 19 minutes remaining.
However, substitute James Spencer’s superb half-volley secured a precious point for the U’s to keep them in contention for the League Two play-offs.
U’s boss Shaun Derry raced down the touchline in reaction to the equaliser, which was met with some disdain by the home supporters.
“I lost the plot for a moment there” said Derry. “I apologise to Chris. I thought I was the twelfth man and I couldn’t help myself.”
However, Wilder insisted he took the celebration in the manner in which it was intended.
“You’ve got to say it was a sweet strike from Spencer,” said the Cobblers boss. “And what a fantastic celebration. Shaun is a determined guy. They were a determined team today and they’re trying to get themselves into the play-offs.”
Derry added: “I’ll always hold the opposition with great respect. It wasn’t disrespectful.”
The U’s are now unbeaten at Sixfields in over 20 years and they showed little intention of giving that record up in the early exchanges.
Harrison Dunk’s free-kick on 23 minutes found Josh Coulson, but the centre-back’s header across goal dropped inches wide of Adam Smith’s left-hand post.
At the other end, Lee Martin’s shot inside the area was comfortably held by Will Norris, before John-Joe O’Toole struck a low effort wide from 20 yards.
Eight minutes into the second half, Martin’s cross found James Collins unmarked in the centre, but the Shrewsbury Town loanee headed straight at Norris.
Cambridge’s stubborn resistance was broken with 19 minutes remaining. Joel Byrom’s corner was met by Marquis, whose header trickled over the line.
The visitors went in search of an equaliser and Ryan Ledson blasted over from 25 yards before Luke Berry’s header also went over. But the pressure paid off in stoppage time as substitute Spencer struck a sweet half- volley beyond the reach of Smith. Results elsewhere meant that Northampton stretched their huge lead at the top of League Two, but Wilder added: “We’re disappointed because we got that close to the finish line. It was a great atmosphere and I would have loved to have got the three points.
“But we’ve stretched our lead at the top with Portsmouth, Oxford and Plymouth all losing, so a point is not bad and we all move on.”
Derry concluded: “We put our bodies on the line in certain areas and we were ruthless.”
HEAR ME ROAR: Northampton Town striker John Marquis celebrates his goal
HUDDLE: Cambridge cheer their late leveller
STAR MAN LEON LEGGE Cambr