Northampton 3 Pompey 1

Pompey's Damien McCrory in action against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Damien McCrory in action against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close battles for possession against Southend.

O'Keefe impressed with Pompey rival

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Pompey will feel hard done by after they crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Northampton.

Kenny Jackett’s side put in a brave performance at Sixfields, creating enough chances to return home with something to show for their efforts.

But a lack of clinical finishing, coupled with some questionable defending let them down in the end as they registered their third League One defeat of the season.

After a promising start, the Blues went behind after being caught cold by a superb Shaun McWilliams through ball.

Chris Long broke free, and although Luke McGee attempted to close him down. it was not enough as the striker fired home.

Pompey responded with a Conor Chaplin effort from outside the box that went wide.

But the momentum was still with the hosts who extended their lead in their next meaningful venture forward.

A Damien McCrory foul on Matt Grimes close to the byline invited the Cobblers to fire the ball into the danger area.

And Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side did just that, with Matt Crooks flicking the ball goalwards before Matt Clarke assisted it on its way into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

The Blues thought they had halved the home side’s lead on 27 minutes when Jamal Lowe’s cross was headed against the bar by Northampton defender Ash Taylor, with Brett Pitman unable to read the rebound.

Stuart O’Keefe then had keeper Matt Ingram in panic mode when he curled the ball towards goal when set up by Chaplin.

However, the Northampton stopper was equal to the effort and pushed the ball over the bar as Northampton went into the break with their two-goal cushion intact.

Four minutes after the restart, however, the Blues had reduced the deficit.

O’Keefe won the ball on the edge of the box and set up deadline-day addition Kennedy, who fired right-footed past the helpless Ingram for his first goal for his new club.

With the initiative seized, Pompey went in search of an equaliser.

McCrory’s cross to the far post picked out Lowe, who failed to net from two yards out.

Pitman was then crowded out after initially aiming to capitalise on a mistake by George Long.

Meanwhile, Lowe was found guilty of squandering another chance in front of goal when he had time and space to pick his spot after another fine pick out by Kennedy, with the winger firing wide.

With the rain lashing down on Sixfields, it appeared only a matter of time before the Northampton defences would be breached again.

But it was the home side who stormed back into control when Long fired home from just inside the Blues penalty area on 69 minutes to make it 3-1.

To their credit, Pompey failed to accept their fate was already written and again took the game to their hosts.

Christian Burgess was denied by Ingram, who got in the way of his back-post header from McCroy’s cross.

And O’Keefe was left frustrated when his snapshot from the edge of the area was pushed wide by the outstretched keeper.

Burgess was denied again as full-time approached.

He got his head on to another fine delivery into the box but once more Ingram stepped up to the plate to earn his side the three points on offer.