Northampton Town’s unbeaten run was ended by Cheltenham Town after a 3-1 defeat in Gloucestershire.

The Cobblers had arrived at Whaddon Road unbeaten in 8 matches, but were off the pace, with two first half goals from Luke Varney and a further Tyrone Barnett goal deciding the contest.

Dean Bowditch scored a late goal for Northampton but there was no coming back for Keith Curle’s side, who slip to defeat.

The result means Northampton are now 9 points off the play-offs after Exeter’s late win at Notts County.

Northampton had arrived hoping to continue their fine run, but after an early half-chance for Andy Williams, the home side took control.

After coming close when David Cornell denied Barnett, Varney opened the scoring when he tapped in a cross.

The Cobblers struggled to get back into proceedings, and then fell two down in the final minutes of the first half. A penalty was conceded by young debutant defender Ryan Hughes for a foul on Barnett, and from 12 yards, Varney scored a second.

Things could even have got worse before the break, as a cross was headed wide by Barnett when he was well placed.

Northampton improved after the break, but struggled to back into the contest and the home side had further chances. Ryan Broom fired just wide, while Cornell was forced into saves to deny Varney, Kevin Dawson and Chris Clements.

Cheltenham got the third as the game moved into the final 20 minutes, as from a corner conceded when Cornell saved Clements’ free-kick, Barnett turned in the short corner routine.

Bowditch blasted in a long-range free-kick late on, but it was already too late for the visitors to gain something from the match.