Northampton Town – Match Report vs Tranmere Rovers FC (08/05/2023)

A smash and grab win Northampton Town against Tranmere on the last day of the season secured automatic promotion for the Cobblers. Following missing out on promotion on the last day of the previous season, the tension was very high among Jon Brady’s men but they held strong against a Tranmere side who dominated possession. Both teams operated from a 4-2-3-1 base shape, with Northampton playing slightly narrower than Tranmere, focussing their attacks through middle of the pitch.



A1 – Very good, could play higher

A2 – Strong potential to play higher

B1 – Good, strong player at level

B2 – Potential to be strong player at level

C – Average for the level, re-watch

D – Below average in this match

Marc Leonard

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 19/12/2001
  • Club: Northampton Town (on loan)
  • Career: Brighton & Hove Albion (Y), Hearts (Y)
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Marc Leonard was the best player on the pitch against Tranmere, aiding Northampton Town to victory against a resilient opponent. Despite not having the ball as much as their opposition, Leonard used first time passing throughout the game to help Northampton maintain a quick tempo when in possession. He retained possession well during the game but in my opinion too often settled for sideways or backwards passing. I would have liked to have seen some more progressive passes in addition to a longer range of passing in this game but his passing over a short distance was consistently accurate. He also regularly made himself available at the base of midfield while his more creative teammates had the ball, allowing them a safe option to keep hold of the ball.

Defensively, the young Scot was excellent during the game. His defensive positioning was mostly good, providing cover in midfield for the back four against quick counters as well as dropping deeper when Tranmere had the ball near Northampton’s penalty area. Leonard’s stamina and work rate were on display too, pressing high up in the attacking third, on occasion winning the ball to help create dangerous attacks for Northampton. For the most part, Leonard was able to read long clearances, anticipating where the ball would drop and win the header. However, on one occasion, he misjudged the flight of the ball and was caught under it. Against stronger opposition, this had the potential to be punished by a goal.

Leonard was the designated set piece taker for Northampton in this game and delivered accurate crosses into the area on each occasion. I think that this was a real strength of his performance and is an area of his game that could easily translate to the higher divisions.

Rating – A1

I think that Leonard is ready to play at a higher level than League Two, which I assume he will do considering he is on loan from Brighton. From what I observed in the game against Tranmere, his defensive game is strong enough for him to play in the Championship. However, he didn’t have the opportunity to showcase his range of passing due to Tranmere’s domination of possession. I think he has the potential to play in the Championship but would expect him to find a transfer to League One next season.


Sam Sherring

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 08/05/2000
  • Club: Northampton Town
  • Career: Bournemouth (Y), Cambridge United (L), Accrington Stanley (L), Torquay United (L), Weymouth (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Other Positions: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sam Sherring provided the solidarity required for Northampton’s victory over Tranmere. Along with Marc Leonard, Sherring was highly impressive in creating a strong defensive spine for the Cobblers. The first thing to note about Sherring is that he is very tall, creating an imposing presence along the backline and at set pieces. He seemed to clear anything crossed into the area, bravely challenging for all aerial duels. His positioning throughout the game was excellent, especially within the penalty area. The young Englishman made some important blocks in the second half from both shots and crosses to help keep Northampton’s lead.

Whilst Sherring was imperious in the air, he was caught out in the first half with a high arm position that, in my opinion, should have resulted in a handball and penalty being conceded. He is also not the most agile player and may find it difficult at a higher level against tricky dribblers, especially if deployed as a full back. Whilst his agility may be questionable, his anticipation of defensive situations allows him to quickly react to dangerous loose balls in the penalty area.

Sherring showed good, encouraging body language when communicating with teammates. His positive behaviour seemed to indicate to me that he was helping organise the defensive line on more than one occasion. He was confident in his first touch and passing, often hitting passes with the appropriate velocity over longer distances.

Rating – A1

I think that Sherring is ready to play at a higher level but I’m not sure his ceiling will be much higher than League One. It will be interesting to see how he gets on next season after Northampton’s promotion.


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