A torrid afternoon for Shots in Northamptonshire, as almost everything that could go wrong - did.
Manager Dean Holdsworth brought Ben Smith into his starting line-up for this match, preferring him on the right side of midfield to Adam Mekki or Darren Murphy who took their places on the bench. Otherwise the team was fairly predictable.
Little went right in the first half for Shots. They dominated early possession, but failed to capitalise on it and it was the home side who looked the more dangerous going forward, often on the counter attack.
Aaron Morris had the two best opportunities, shooting first high and then wide after patient build up from Shots, often down the right channel.
Cobblers took the lead on 21 minutes. Simple but effective play. Long throw in from the right, a slight flick on and Langmead bundled the ball in from five yards. Northampton's second goal some 10 minutes before the interval was not disimilar. Another long raking ball in and this time, Akinfenwa rose to flick in the slightest of headers from 3 yards. Vincenti rose with him, but the merest flick of his head was more than enough for Northampton's big number ten. It could and probably should have been 3-0 as Luke Guttridge broke but shot over.
Then Shots lost skipper Ben Herd to injury. As the teams trudged off at half time, words were exchanged between Akinfenwa and Bradley. It looked as though it was about to kick off as the players reached the tunnel. Whether it actually did or not, I guess we'll never know.
If Shots fans had dreamed of a second half turnaround, their hopes were dashed within ten minutes of the re-start, when Josh Payne was penalised for a foul inside the penalty area and Akinfenwa slotted home the spot-kick.
The rest of the second half was like pulling teeth for Shots. Going forward, virtually nothing they tried came off. Hylton picked up a silly booking. Cobblers fans greeted every throw in, corner and free kick they won as if they had won the title. "Ole" they shouted, every time their side completed another pass.
Substitute Doughty did well to creat a chance for himself, but shot straight at the Northampton keeper. Hylton broke through on the left, but dragged his shot wide right. Then, a brief moment of consolation for Shots. Doughty's shot was fumbled by the keeper and Danny slotted home the rebound. 3-1
Eventually the referee brough Shots miserable afternoon to a halt. A bad day at the office
Shots: Young Herd (Mekki) Jones Bradley Straker Smith (Doughty) Morris Payne Vincenti (Murphy) Hylton Madjo. Att: 5071