Cobblers boss Chris Wilder was delighted with his side’s second-half performance as they kept their season alive for at least another week with a 2-0 win over relegation-haunted Cheltenham Town at Sixfields.
Goals after the break from strikers Ivan Toney and Marc Richards sealed the win for Town, who move up to 10th and to within four points of the promotion play-off places with two matches of the season remaining.
It all added up to a miserable afternoon for Cheltenham’s former Cobblers boss Gary Johnson, who went away empty-handed on his first return to Sixfields since he was sacked as manager in 2011.
Wilder felt his side warranted the win for their second-half showing, but admitted he was disappointed with the opening 45 minutes.
“We created in the first half without being clinical enough,” said the Cobblers boss.
“In the second half we managed to get our noses in front and were comfortable winners.
In the second half we managed to get our noses in front and were comfortable winnersCobblers boss Chris Wilder
“As teams always will and need to, Cheltenham chucked things at us late in the game and had one or two chances that I’m not too happy about.
“In the first half we tried to be a little too precise and were trying to score the perfect goal.
“We had to mix it up a little bit, and I felt we did that second half. The game opened up a bit and I thought our front four were excellent.”
Richards was introduced as a 66th-minute substitute for his first Sixfields appearance since March 3 after Achilles surgery, and it took him just four minutes to outline how much he has been missed with a thumping right-foot finish that made it 2-0 after Toney had opened the scoring.
And Wilder admitted he just wishes he could have had Richards back in the fold a few weeks earlier.
“Marc Richards comes on and tucks one in straight away and scores a fantastic goal,” said the Cobblers boss.
“It is a little bittersweet really, because it is a great result, a really good performance, and Marc coming back is fantastic for him, but I just wish we had him in and around us sooner.”
The Cobblers now have a free week before travelling to league two leaders Burton Albion next Saturday.