A first-half effort from Sam Hoskins proved enough to give Northampton Town a 1-0 victory against Blackpool at Sixfields.
The forward managed to divert a strike from range past Ryan Allsop to decide a match of very few chances.
Manager Gary Bowyer made three changes to his side for the fixture, with Armand Gnanduillet joining Sean Longstaff and Callum Cooke in the side.
It was a lively opening at Sixfields as both teams had big chances to score inside the first two minutes. Northampton’s Daniel Powell was denied by Ryan Allsop after a loose Sean Longstaff pass was pounced on, while Gnanduillet closed down the ‘keeper but found the side netting at the other end.
Kelvin Mellor got ahead of his man with a well-timed run from a corner but unfortunately headed wide in the 10th minute.
The Seasiders were then forced into an early change at left-back, with Colin Daniel struggling to shake off an injury problem. Andy Taylor was the man to replace him.
The home side opened the scoring in the 20th minute, when Sam Hoskins managed to divert a Chris Long strike past Ryan Allsop. It was a neat flick that found the bottom corner.
Andy Taylor looked to find an immediate response, though he fired over with a strike from the edge of the area.
Both sides, despite the initial two-minute flurry, were finding it difficult to find any rhythm, however Northampton were moving Blackpool’s centre-backs with incisive runs.
A foul on Will Hoskins prior to the interval presented Matt Grimes with a good opportunity 25-yards out, though his free-kick failed to trouble Allsop.
Half-Time: Northampton Town 1 Blackpool 0
Gary Bowyer opted to make a change for the second-half, introducing Danny Philliskirk for Armand Gnanduillet. It meant a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Nathan Delfouneso leading the line.
The change appeared to be working, as Delfouneso was stretching the centre-backs and creating space for team-mates to try and influence things in the final third.
Town’s Aaron Pierre was forced to head a Callum Cooke effort off his goal line after the ‘keeper was out of position.
Blackpool then made a third and final substitution as Viv Solomon-Otabor replaced Sean Longstaff.
Despite seeing more and more of the ball, The Seasiders were finding it difficult to fashion out further opportunities against a resolute Town defence.
The home side were set up to counter Blackpool’s attacks and they could and probably should have doubled their lead in the 80th minute. First-half goalscorer Sam Hoskins was played into acres of space but fired inches wide of the wide.
Blackpool continued to try and find an equaliser but, despite four minutes of added time, were left disappointed.
Full-Time: Northampton Town 1 Blackpool 0