Northampton Town 2 Yeovil Town 0 – match review, player ratings and highlights

Nicky Adams, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Josh Lelan and Marc Richards celebrate after Northampton go 2-0 up over Yeovil.  Pictures by Sharon Lucey
Nicky Adams, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Josh Lelan and Marc Richards celebrate after Northampton go 2-0 up over Yeovil. Pictures by Sharon Lucey

Nine points from nine and the off-field issues resolved, there can’t have been many better weeks in Northampton Town’s 118-year history.

There has been enough drama and enough emotion to last an entire season, let alone a matter of months, and this home game against Yeovil was an opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief, relax and actually enjoy a football match.

It was a welcome change.

But any hopes that Northampton would simply blow away bottom-of-the-table Yeovil were quelled in a scrappy and largely uneventful encounter which was brought to life by two well-crafted Cobblers goals that were very much out of character with the game itself.

Given everything that has happened over the past seven days – the takeover plus two excellent away wins – there was a feeling that the Cobblers would perhaps overpower their beleaguered visitors who came into this game without a league win since mid-September.

But it proved less than straightforward as they came up against a well-organised, decent Yeovil side, who themselves lacked quality in the final third, on a horrid day for football where only the result really mattered in a swirling wind and driving rain.

In a game short on chances, it was two fine team goals, first from Lawson D’ath and then Marc Richards, his 12th of the season, that earned a fifth win on the spin and continued Town’s best start to a league campaign for 29 years.

It was a fitting way to end what has been a fairytale week for Cobblers fans. Nine points out of nine is a fine achievement in this league at any time against any opposition but three straight victories against three sides relegated from League One last season, two away from home, and factor in the emotional highs and lows of the off-field distractions, this was a hugely impressive.

Saturday’s win was the perfect way to kick-off the new era under the ownership of Kelvin Thomas, who was among the 5,000 fans inside Sixfields to witness his new club edge closer to the League Two summit.

Thomas would have been satisfied enough and he, along with everyone else at Sixfields, can now look forward to a bright future for a club with exciting potential.

Not only is Chris Wilder building a talented team on the pitch, the off-field issues have brought players and fans closer together and there’s a sense that everyone is in this together, which can only be a positive.

And just to crown things off, the three points take Northampton level on points with Plymouth and Oxford at the top of League Two.

What a week it’s been.

Next up, the FA Cup.

How they rated...

Adam Smith - Quick off his line to mop up any danger behind his defence. Wasn’t required to make a significant save... 7

Josh Lelan - Few nervous moments on his first start since being sent off against Plymouth but grew in confidence and had a hand in the second goal... 7

Ryan Cresswell - Has a tendency to get caught under the high ball and he may have been punished on another day if not for Smith... 6.5

Zander Diamond - Another fine showing at the heart of defence as he guided Town to just their fifth clean sheet of the season... 8

David Buchanan - What more can you say about him? Consistently consistent.... 7

Joel Byrom - Did well in awful conditions. Kept things simple and used the ball intelligently... 7

John-Joe O’Toole - Continued his excellent run of form with another good display which was cut short when he was forced off with a knock. Will miss next week’s FA Cup tie after picking up his fifth booking of the season... 7

Lawson D’Ath - Played a key role in both goals. Kept his nerve to finish well for the opener before first-time ball allowed Adams the space to cross. Seems to be getting back to last season’s form... 8 CHRON STAR MAN

Nicky Adams - Was having a quiet match until he produced a quite brilliant cross that gave Richards a simple tap-in. Up to 11 assists for the campaign now... 7

Alfie Potter - Outstanding work to create D’Ath’s opener. Not only the run and burst downfield but also played the goalscorer through with an exquisite outside-of-the-boot pass... 7

Marc Richards - Does what he does best. Timed his run to perfection to leave himself with a simple finish for the crucial second goal... 7

Substitutes

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 6

Jason Taylor - 6

Ryan Watson - 6

Chris Wilder was a relieved man after his side kept their FA Cup hopes alive in dramatic fashion

Chris Wilder was a relieved man after his side kept their FA Cup hopes alive in dramatic fashion