Marc Richards gives Northampton a win over Mansfield
An early first half-goal from Marc Richards earned Northampton a 1-0 victory over Mansfield.
The match winner came in the fourth minute when Alfie Potter beat Nicky Hunt on the left flank and provided the perfect cross for his skipper to head home.
But Cobblers failed to build on their early advantage. Mansfield got into the game and had chances to get back on level terms.
Mitchell Rose almost took advantage of a slip by Rod McDonald but curled his shot past the far post, while Chris Clements fired over from the edge of the box. Ryan Tafazolli headed wide from a corner and Matt Green saw his header loop over the bar.
It took a decent save from Brian Jensen to deny Nicky Adams at the other end as Cobblers still looked a threat on the break. But Green came closest to an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when he headed a Blair Adams free-kick against the bar.
Cobblers almost doubled their lead after the restart when substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewis grazed the bar from Adams' low cross.
Joel Byrom also went close when he had a goalbound effort blocked before Mansfield stepped up a gear in search of an equaliser, forcing several corners. Tafazolli headed over from a Clements corner but substitute Adi Yussuf should have done better when got into the box before blazing wide.
It took another good save from Jensen to thwart Byrom after he raced clear but Richards' 11th goal of the campaign proved enough.