Tuesday night proved to be another memorable League Cup game for Cobblers fans as they beat a Wolves side who had won 10 of their previous 11 matches at Molineux. With the Anfield win nearing its four year anniversary, the Cobblers set about adding another giant killing to the list which also includes away wins at Bolton Wanderers and Reading in recent years.
Two minutes before kick off a torrential downpour saw Cobblers fans scuttling for seats towards the back of the Steve Bull lower tier; what some thought was a sign of the night ahead. However, although the soaking wet pitch did seem to be in Wolves favour for the first twenty minutes as they zipped the ball from back to front, The Cobblers slowly began to grow into the match. Ravenhill tested McCarey from distance and O’Toole chose the wrong through ball option when trying to play in Morris. Then came a 15 period of play which saw wolves have three goals disallowed for offsidel, and the Northampton fans singing the linesman’s name, much to the annoyance of the home faithful! All three disallowed Wolves goals were well worked and their final ball was superb; a Leon Clarke header being pick of the bunch. As it was, the sides went into half time at 0-0.
The second half began much like the first, with Wolves’ ever threatening Mcalinder terrorizing Daniel Alfei in the right back position and whipping ball after ball across the face of the 6 yard box, with no one there to meet it. However, in the 55th minute, Lawson D’ath was introduced for his Cobblers debut on the right hand side of midfield, and within three minutes he had his first goal, striking the ball low past McCarey, who only managed to get a weak hand to it. Just five minutes later and the lead was doubled as the impressive Kaid Mohamed’s corner was met by a perfect Ivan Toney header into the far bottom corner. Toney now has four goals in four starts in his professional Northampton career and is undoubtedly a superb talent, depicted by his ability to work as a lone striker for the entirety of his 83 minutes on the field.
Kenny Jacket immediately made a double substitution bringing on Sako and Dicko to boost the Wolves attack, a decision which paid dividends just seconds later as Mcalinder crossed and Dicko fired home. Another goal was added to the tally within a crazy 8 minute spell, and it was again Wolves who struck to draw level; Ricketts listening to the home faithful’ calls to shoot and finding the far corner from twenty yards.
Having drew level there seemed to be only one winner and Sako spurned a glorious chance to give Wolves the lead as he tried to chip the advancing duke, only to see his shot find the top of the netting. However, The Cobblers seemed to quickly re-group after conceding the 2nd goal, with John Joe O’Toole pulling the strings; his class evident throughout the match. With 74 minutes played it was D’ath who again put Northampton ahead, his somewhat fortuitous header looping over Mccarey in the Wolves goal and finding the back of the net to send the 728 travelling fans wild, and cap a magnificent debut for the winger who was released by Reading in the summer.
Wolves failed to create any clear cut chances in the final 15 minutes of play as the away side defended superbly from back to front. This was an extremely impressive footballing display from the league 2 side and the Cobblers were well worth their win with Kenny Jacket labeling them as “The better team in both boxes.”
Chris Wilder was also clearly impressed with the mental strength shown by his Cobblers side to re-group after giving away two goals in the space of 60 seconds; “I think when it went to 2-2 a lot of people will have thought Wolves would go on to win the game but what I’ve always talked about is that we’ve got to be resilient if we’re going to have a decent season.”
“When things go against us I want to see what the players are all about and tonight they’ve answered in the best possible way.”
Chris Wilders’ side will now look to build on their superb performance and make it a hat trick of wins as they travel to York on Saturday, before another tough match away at Portsmouth on Tuesday evening.