Northampton 1 Stoke City 1

Last updated : 13 January 2002 By

Stoke City's serene progress back to the top of Nationwide Division Two was stopped in its tracks by Sam Parkin's late equaliser at Sixfields.

It meant the divisions bottom club were able to put a spoke in the progress of Gudjon Thordarson's side who paid the price for a casual second half performance.

There looked only one winner at half time, thanks to Marc Goodfellow's 36th minute volley, which forced an error from home goalkeeper Adam Sollitt, who spilled the ball over the line.

For all their huffing and puffing, Northampton were clearly operating at a lower class than their visitors who had two goals disallowed for offside in the opening period and also carved out enough chances to be over the horizon.

As early as the sixth minute Goodfellow went round Sollitt but Ian Sampson came back to make a magnificent last-ditch tackle and divert the shot wide.

Then after Parkin had almost broken through at the other end Sollitt was forced to push a Goodfellow shot around the post before James O'Connor went clear on the exposed Northampton goalkeeper only for Sollitt to save smartly before Paul Dempsey made the final clearance.

Stoke took their foot off the gas in the second half although debut defender Mike Flynn almost sealed victory with 17 minutes left. Flynn, picked up on loan from Stockport on Friday, directed a Bjarni Gudjonsson corner back into the danger zone where the ball was hit by Sampson forcing Sollitt into making a smart reaction save.

Out of the blue the Cobblers drew level with eight minutes left. James Hunt's cross from the right was met by Parkin's glancing header and the ball drifted inside Neil Cutler's right-hand post.

This sparked a frenzied finale from the home side and Jamie Forrester drove over from 25-yards while substitute Derek Asamoah sent another scorching snapshot only inches wide.

Northampton boss Kevan Broadhurst clearly believes his side could still stay up despite their perilous position and he said: "We got commitment in abundance today but I have had that for a while now.

"It will be a hell of a fight to get out of the bottom four but if I can get my players back from injury we will give it one hell of a shot."