SPENCER PEGS BACK COB­BLERS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Sam Con­way

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.”

PIC­TURES: Den­nis Good­win/Pro Sport

HEAR ME ROAR: Northamp­ton Town striker John Mar­quis cel­e­brates his goal

HUD­DLE: Cam­bridge cheer their late lev­eller

STAR MAN LEON LEGGE Cambr

idge

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