Roy O'Donovan's late strike earned League Two promotion chasers Northampton victory at home to Torquay.

Chris Hackett crossed for January deadline signing O'Donovan to head home only his third goal for the club from 10 yards on 85 minutes to steer the Cobblers up to third place.

Ben Harding had earlier gone closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting a post.

But Torquay had a strong penalty appeal waved away when Elliot Benyon was tripped by defender Clarke Carlisle.

Rene Howe then went close to an equaliser before home keeper Lee Nicholls denied Benyon in the last minute.

O'Donovan, signed on 31 January by his old Coventry City manager Aidy Boothroyd following his release by the Sky Blues, also had a header ruled out for offside.

Northampton have gone two points clear of fourth-placed Burton Albion, who play at home to Chesterfield on Saturday.

Match Stats

Shots

13 8

On target

5 5

Corners

4 4

Fouls

14 16

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:07 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +3:43

The referee blows for offside. Michael Poke takes the indirect free kick.

90:00 +2:50

Rene Howe is caught offside. Free kick taken by Lee Nicholls.

90:00 +1:52

Inswinging corner taken by Lee Mansell from the left by-line, clearance made by Adebayo Akinfenwa.

90:00 +0:15

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Lee Mansell.

88:50

Shot by Elliot Benyon from 12 yards. Save by Lee Nicholls.

87:30

Effort from deep inside the area by Rene Howe misses to the right of the goal.

85:44 Substitution

Substitution Nathan Cameron is brought on as a substitute for Chris Hackett.

84:08

The assist for the goal came from Chris Hackett.

84:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Roy O'Donovan - Northamp'n 1 - 0 Torquay Roy O'Donovan finds the back of the net with a fantastic headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Northampton 1-0 Torquay.

83:50

Chris Hackett produces a cross, save made by Michael Poke.

82:28

The ball is swung over by Elliot Benyon, Header from close in by Billy Bodin misses to the left of the target.

81:36

Michael Poke takes the indirect free kick.

81:36 Substitution

Substitution Jake Robinson on for Ishmel Demontagnac.

81:36

Roy O'Donovan is caught offside.

81:21

The assistant referee flags for offside against Elliot Benyon. Lee Collins takes the indirect free kick.

80:00

Corner taken left-footed by Kevin Nicholson from the right by-line, save by Lee Nicholls.

77:53

Joe Oastler restarts play with the free kick.

77:53 Booking

Booking Ishmel Demontagnac is booked.

77:48

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ishmel Demontagnac on Elliot Benyon.

76:40

Michael Poke takes the free kick. Joe Oastler challenges Ishmel Demontagnac unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joe Widdowson takes the free kick.

76:40 Booking

Booking Roy O'Donovan is shown a yellow card.

76:14

The assistant referee flags for offside against Ishmel Demontagnac.

75:35

The offside flag is raised against Elliot Benyon. Free kick taken by Lee Nicholls.

75:10

Free kick awarded for a foul by Clarke Carlisle on Angus MacDonald. Direct free kick taken by Michael Poke.

74:41

Lee Collins restarts play with the free kick.

74:41 Booking

Booking Billy Bodin receives a yellow card.

74:12

Foul by Billy Bodin on John Johnson, free kick awarded.

72:19

Lee Collins takes the free kick. Chris Hackett is caught offside. Michael Poke takes the indirect free kick.

72:19 Booking

Booking Joss Labadie is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

72:11

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ben Harding by Joss Labadie.

68:24 Substitution

Substitution Jordan Chapell goes off and Billy Bodin comes on.

67:21

Foul by Lee Mansell on Ben Tozer, free kick awarded. Clarke Carlisle takes the direct free kick.

67:08

A cross is delivered by John Johnson, Joe Oastler manages to make a clearance.

65:06

Joss Labadie fouled by Ben Tozer, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Poke takes the direct free kick.

64:00

Ishmel Demontagnac delivers the ball, clearance made by Joss Labadie. Ben Harding produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

63:50

Centre by Chris Hackett.

62:51

Foul by Rene Howe on Joe Widdowson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Lee Collins.

62:17

Ryan Jarvis produces a drilled left-footed shot from 25 yards. Save by Lee Nicholls.

61:10

Chris Hackett sends in a cross. Ben Tozer is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Michael Poke.

58:34

A cross is delivered by John Johnson, clearance by Angus MacDonald. Ishmel Demontagnac gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Oastler. Michael Poke takes the free kick.

57:32

Ben Tozer fouled by Lee Mansell, the ref awards a free kick. Clarke Carlisle restarts play with the free kick.

54:53

Adebayo Akinfenwa concedes a free kick for a foul on Joss Labadie. Free kick taken by Joe Oastler.

53:21

Ishmel Demontagnac is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Michael Poke. Handball by Adebayo Akinfenwa. Joe Oastler takes the indirect free kick.

52:27

Corner taken left-footed by Ben Harding from the right by-line, Shot by John Johnson from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

51:55

Ben Harding takes a shot from a just insdie the box and strikes the post. Chris Hackett takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Michael Poke.

51:44

The ball is crossed by Chris Hackett.

51:24

A cross is delivered by Elliot Benyon, clearance made by Clarke Carlisle.

50:15

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Michael Poke.

49:18

Unfair challenge on Rene Howe by Joe Widdowson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Oastler.

48:03

Effort from deep inside the area by Roy O'Donovan misses to the left of the target.

45:38

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lee Mansell by Adebayo Akinfenwa. Kevin Nicholson takes the direct free kick.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Adebayo Akinfenwa is brought on as a substitute for Clive Platt.

45:00 +2:30 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +2:03

Joe Oastler sends in a cross.

45:00 +0:57

Foul by Ishmel Demontagnac on Joe Oastler, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Michael Poke.

44:32

Corner taken left-footed by Ben Harding from the right by-line, Roy O'Donovan concedes a free kick for a foul on Joe Oastler. Michael Poke takes the free kick.

41:43

John Johnson restarts play with the free kick. Shot from just outside the area by Roy O'Donovan misses to the left of the target.

41:43 Booking

Booking Elliot Benyon is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

41:28

Elliot Benyon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Collins.

40:44

Free kick awarded for a foul by Joss Labadie on Ben Tozer. Lee Collins takes the direct free kick. Chris Hackett crosses the ball, clearance by Brian Saah.

38:57

Ryan Jarvis has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.

37:44

Corner taken left-footed by Kevin Nicholson from the right by-line, save by Lee Nicholls.

37:26

Centre by Elliot Benyon, clearance by Lee Collins.

35:19

Foul by Ryan Jarvis on Ben Tozer, free kick awarded. John Johnson restarts play with the free kick. Centre by John Johnson, clearance made by Angus MacDonald. Ishmel Demontagnac has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide left of the target.

34:32

Joe Oastler concedes a free kick for a foul on Ishmel Demontagnac. Lee Collins restarts play with the free kick.

32:36

Joss Labadie challenges Ben Harding unfairly and gives away a free kick. Clarke Carlisle takes the direct free kick.

31:28

Foul by Ishmel Demontagnac on Ryan Jarvis, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Joe Oastler.

30:55

Unfair challenge on Ishmel Demontagnac by Joss Labadie results in a free kick. Lee Nicholls takes the free kick.

28:28

Lee Nicholls takes the direct free kick.

28:28 Booking

Booking Rene Howe goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

26:25

Free kick awarded for a foul by Clarke Carlisle on Rene Howe. Joss Labadie fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Ben Harding. Free kick awarded for a foul by Rene Howe on Lee Nicholls.

25:06

Jordan Chapell has an effort at goal. Save made by Lee Nicholls. Shot from just outside the area by Ishmel Demontagnac misses to the left of the target. Joe Widdowson challenges Jordan Chapell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joe Oastler takes the free kick.

24:17

The official flags Clarke Carlisle offside. Free kick taken by Michael Poke.

23:45

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ben Tozer by Lee Mansell. Lee Nicholls takes the free kick.

21:06

Ben Harding takes a shot. Michael Poke makes a save.

18:56

Corner taken left-footed by Ben Harding, clearance by Angus MacDonald.

16:33

Shot on goal by Ishmel Demontagnac from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

15:55

Elliot Benyon is caught offside. Free kick taken by Lee Nicholls.

13:08

Chris Hackett fouled by Ryan Jarvis, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Harding delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Ryan Jarvis makes a clearance.

10:40

Shot by Jordan Chapell from 30 yards. Lee Nicholls makes a comfortable save.

9:38

Ben Harding fouled by Joss Labadie, the ref awards a free kick. Lee Collins takes the direct free kick.

8:50

Roy O'Donovan takes a shot from 20 yards. Save by Michael Poke.

6:10

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joe Oastler by Clive Platt. Free kick taken by Michael Poke.

6:00

Chris Hackett sends in a cross, Brian Saah makes a clearance.

4:38

Ben Harding takes the inswinging corner, save made by Michael Poke.

4:19

Ishmel Demontagnac produces a cross, Shot from 12 yards by Chris Hackett. Blocked by Kevin Nicholson.

3:40

The ball is swung over by Joe Widdowson, comfortable save by Michael Poke.

1:45

Foul by Joe Widdowson on Ryan Jarvis, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Kevin Nicholson, Lee Collins makes a clearance. Centre by Roy O'Donovan.

0:00

The referee gets the match started.

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