First goals and more trialists as Cobblers draw at Oxford City

Oxford City 2-2 Northampton Town

Pre-Season Friendly

Tuesday, July 20th 2011

A clutch of unimpressive trialists, a mass change half way through the second half and our first goals of pre-season were the main points of interest coming from last night’s game at Oxford City as the Cobblers stepped up the preparations for the start of the season.

In a game that started with trialists Rene Marsh-Brown, Calum Flanagan, Jordan Dupray and Adi Yussuf we also got a rare glimpse of Ryan Gilligan who, along with Tadhg Purcell, was looking to win the attention of the on looking Darlington manager Mark Cooper. Cooper was in the area with his squad as they prepare for tonight’s game at Brackley Town and popped in to have a look at the two Town players.

Purcell did his hopes of sealing a loan return to the club where he scored nine times in twenty two games in the 2009/10 season no harm at all by opening the scoring with a well taken left footed goal in fifteen minutes. League veterans Lee Steele and Steve Basham turned the game in the home side’s favour before Michael Built levelled just after half time by getting on the end of a Lewis Young cross.

Gary Johnson changed his entire team around on the hour mark with a much more first team feel to it. You could argue that the side put out from then on would be close to the one used on August 6th for the league opener against Accrington Stanley: Walker, Nana, Corker, Johnson, Webster, Jacobs, Tozer, Turnbull, Davies, Akinfenwa and Robinson. You wouldn’t make too many changes to that team but despite the more experience added to the game there were no more breakthroughs.

With another game this evening at home to Nottingham Forest that should see more run outs, there’s a final chance to get match fitness down before the more important friendlies in the next couple of weeks that will focus on the style of play. Whatever type of match it is tonight though there is a bit more interest with Luke Chambers returning and Steve McClaren marking his return to the English game.

Johnson indicated this morning that only Flanagan will get another chance of the trialists put out last night with the two other defenders deemed not up to standard. There could be one last chance for Yussuf and if Mark Cooper has his way then there will be room for another striker in the Cobblers squad with the expected departure of Purcell.

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