Notts County 1 Northampton Town 2 – match review, player ratings and highlights

Cobblers celebrate in a huddle after Brendan Moloney's winner (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Cobblers celebrate in a huddle after Brendan Moloney's winner (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

It’s been another roller-coaster of a week for Cobblers fans who once again travelled in their numbers to witness their team march on with a 2-1 win at Notts County, but this was a match overshadowed by a remarkable post-match interview.

Chris Wilder has, by and large, kept his opinions to himself throughout the seemingly never-ending takeover saga, but there was no holding back in an amazingly passionate speech following his side’s win at Meadow Lane.

It was as extraordinary as it was brilliant, and you can completely understand his frustration.

This is a man who has worked tirelessly to resurrect Northampton Town Football Club from a side who looked certainties for relegation to the Conference in 2014 to a team who are flying high in third in League Two just 18 months later - and now all of that hard work is at risk due to circumstances out of his control.

And given the job he’s done at Sixfields, Wilder has naturally attracted interest from other clubs during the past few weeks, but he’s stayed loyal and committed to the Cobblers cause, despite not being paid, and there’s no one more than him who deserves a break from continually having to bat away questions about the off-field shenanigans.

Well, no one apart from the Northampton staff and fans who have acted with complete dignity and class throughout this entire ordeal.

Wilder wasn’t just speaking on behalf of himself, he was speaking on behalf of all the staff, the fans, the players and everyone associated with Northampton Town, who all deserve so much better.

Back to the game itself and this was not the most convincing of performances at Meadow Lane but it was another battling, resilient, determined display that was rewarded thanks to two goals in each half from two defenders in the form of Rod McDonald and Brendan Moloney.

McDonald’s first professional goal was just reward for a couple of excellent performances in recent weeks and it was a superbly taken header that looped over former Manchester United keeper Roy Carroll.

Moloney has been equally as impressive since his return from injury and his goal was even more well-taken, driving forward and firing into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Though it was not their best showing, Northampton did dominate proceedings for large spells, particularly in the first half during which they kept possession well and posed a continual threat through the pace and quality of Alfie Potter, John-Joe O’Toole, Joel Byrom and Nicky Adams, who took his assist tally to 10 for the season - the most in League Two - when setting up McDonald with a lofted cross.

Adams has been involved in 34 per cent of Northampton’s goals this campaign - the highest percentage for any player in any team in League Two - and that’s a strong indication of the quality he brings to this side.

But all of that is immaterial when the bigger picture comes into focus.

Northampton Town is a football club with passionate fans, quality players, dedicated staff and a manager who deeply cares. The unity and togetherness during this whole ordeal has been phenomenal.

“Northampton Town is a football club with passionate fans, quality players, dedicated staff and a manager who deeply cares. The unity and togetherness during this whole ordeal has been phenomenal.”

James Heneghan

For the love of God, do not let it die.

How they rated...

Adam Smith - Couple of saves he’d expect to make. Was well beaten by Stead for County’s goal... 7

Brendan Moloney - Often had to deal with more than one man on his side but dealt with them well. Fabulous driving run and finish to get the winner... 8

Zander Diamond - Largely solid and made one excellent last-ditch challenge in the first half. Also played a role in the winning goal by striding out of defence and playing in Potter on the right... 7

Rod McDonald - Couple of wobbly moments but this was another promising showing from the young centre half, the highlight of which was a brilliant header for his first Cobblers goal... 8

David Buchanan - A typically business-like, tenacious performance. Always industrious which encapsulates Cobblers’ spirit and determination... 7

John-Joe O’Toole - Outstanding all-round midfield performance. Made several crucial defensive blocks at one end and set up Town’s opener at the other. Seemed to cover every blade of grass... 8 CHRON STAR MAN

Joel Byrom - Scurried around midfield tirelessly and good on the ball as ever, including a couple of forward bursts... 7.5

Alfie Potter - Played a crucial part in the winner and was a constant menace for County’s defence all afternoon... 7

Lawson D’Ath - Linked up well with Potter and Adams in some well-worked moves but, not for the first time, had no end product... 6

Nicky Adams - Lots of classy touches in another quality showing. His set-piece delivery repeatedly causes teams problems. A creative hub and another assist racked up... 8

Marc Richards - Missed a golden chance to open the scoring when heading uncharacteristically wide following sterling work from Adams. Never fails to give his all to the cause... 7

Substitutes

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 6

Jason Taylor - 6

Ryan Watson - 6