Jon Russell’s early goal gave Stanley a victory at Northampton Town – although the Reds had enough chances to win more convincingly.
It was their first League One outing since October 20th due to the Covid outbreak which meant the Reds had to isolate for two weeks.
But they continued where they left off – building on their last league encounter, a 1-0 win over Fleetwood – with the three points taking them up to 11th place with games in hand.
John Coleman had to make changes with Ross Sykes injured – Michael Nottingham went into the back three with Harvey Rodgers slotting in the right wing back slot.
Dion Charles started up front with Colby Bishop, who had shaken off a minor injury from midweek.
The Reds got off to a dream start on two minutes when Charles, from midfield, sent Chelsea loannee Russell rushing forward and, one-on-one with keeper Jonathan Mitchell, he fired the ball into the bottom corner of the net. It was his second Stanley goal.
Coleman’s side had a let off three minutes later when a Sam Hoskins low free kick skidded through the area and Toby Savin turned it onto the post.
Russell came close to number two on 16 minutes when Joe Pritchard found him on the edge of the area and the midfielder’s curling effort wasn’t far off.
Charles was denied at the near post by Mitchell on the half hour mark and the goalkeeper’s legs kept out another Charles effort as Stanley bossed the chances.
The Cobblers were still dangerous though and Fraser Horsfall’s strike was held by Savin on 40 minutes.
Just before the break, the Reds should have doubled their lead when a Matt Butcher corner found Charles unmarked at the far post but he headed off-target.
After the break, Northampton had the wind advantage but Stanley continued to create the better chances.
A Pritchard ball in found the head of Bishop at the far post, he headed it back into the danger area but Harvey Rodgers couldn’t quite find the finish
A Pritchard strike was collected by Mitchell and then the winger almost caught the keeper out with a free kick but Mitchell dealt with it at the second attempt.
A minute later Stanley won another free kick and once again Mitchell had to tip over a Pritchard strike.
The Reds thought they had finally scored their second on 68 minutes when a Pritchard corner found the head of Charles, he flicked the ball goalwards and it bounced down off the crossbar onto the line– Stanley felt it had crossed the line but the officials said no.
There was another Stanley chance on 76 minutes when a Pritchard ball skidded across the area and stretching Bishop just couldn’t get there.
Near the end, a Charles strike was inches off tucking in the far post but thankfully the one goal was enough.