Northampton Town rounded off the perfect week in fine style as they moved level on points with the Sky Bet League Two leaders thanks to a 2-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Yeovil at Sixfields on Saturday.
Following 2-1 wins at Notts County and Crawley Town and buoyed by an overwhelming sense of relief following events off the pitch this week, this wasn’t the dominant Cobblers performance that many might have expected as for long spells the home side toiled against a well-organised Yeovil outfit in a scrappy and disjointed affair.
But two well-worked goals, first from Lawson D’Ath and then Marc Richards, were enough for a seventh victory in eight games.
New executive chairman Kelvin Thomas was present among the near 5,000 fans inside Sixfields and he witnessed his new club continue their best start to a league season for almost three decades as, for the third game running, Northampton proved too strong for a side who were relegated from League One last season.
The mood around Sixfields was a celebratory one as Cobblers fans marked the end of what has been perhaps the most distressing few months in the club’s history, and it was a fitting finale to an excellent week, especially as Plymouth’s failure to beat Dagenham means Northampton are now level on points at the top of the table, alongside Argyle and Oxford United.
Wilder was forced into one change from the team which won at Crawley with Josh Lelan coming in for the suspended Brendan Moloney at right-back while Ricky Holmes returned to the matchday squad for the first time since August.
Northampton attacked with a strong wind at their backs in the first half but it was the lowly visitors who were first to have a sniff on goal when Ryan Cresswell was caught under a high ball and Adam Smith had to be quick off his line to prevent Harry Cornick from getting in behind.
Cobblers responded with a spell of possession which culminated in the first attempt on goal but Richards’ header from Nicky Adams’ cross lacked the required power to beat Glovers keeper Chris Weale.
Any thoughts that Northampton would simply blow Yeovil away were being quashed in a scrappy and evenly-matched opening quarter that lacked much in the way of goalmouth action.
Yeovil’s performance to this point belied their lowly league position and Wes Fogden went close to giving the visitors a shock lead on 20 minutes when his 20-yard effort curled across the face of goal and wide.
The first half never really got going as Northampton struggled to break down an organised and well-drilled Yeovil side, who tested Smith for the first time through Ben Tozer’s low effort.
It seemed the game needed a moment of inspiration to kick it into life, and it got just that on 34 minutes when Northampton broke the deadlock with a superbly worked counter-attacking goal.
It all stemmed from a Yeovil corner that was cleared and the ball fell to Alfie Potter, who burst up the right touchline with a mazy solo run before sliding through D’Ath with an inch-perfect outside-of-the-boot pass, and D’Ath made no mistake, rounding Weale and tapping into an empty net.
That might have signalled the start of a Cobblers onslaught, but Yeovil had other ideas and they almost hit back immediately, however Cornick took too long when lining up a shot and Town were able to clear.
The home side began to find their groove as the first half headed towards an end, though their lead remained at just one going into the break.
In similar fashion to the first, the second half took a while to get going before the Cobblers brought it to life with another wonderfully-worked goal to double their lead.
After being found by Lelan, D’Ath’s first-time pass was controlled instantly by Adams who then whipped in a wicked cross that gave Richards a simple tap-in.
Yeovil refused to buckle, though, and they responded to going 2-0 behind with a sustained spell of pressure in which they had three chances to pull a goal back.
George Thomas first side-footed narrowly wide after a nicely-worked move before Smith did well to boot away a dangerous inswinging corner from Ryan Dickson with Cornick heading the follow up effort onto the bar.
Northampton weathered the mini Yeovil storm and the remaining 20 minutes were a largely uneventful as Yeovil committed men forwards against a Cobblers side who were content with the two goals.
And there four minutes of stoppage time petered out to give Northampton a fifth straight win in all competitions.
Cobblers: Smith, Lelan, Cresswell, Diamond, Buchanan, O’Toole (Taylor 76), Byrom, D’Ath, Potter (Calvert-Lewin 52), Adams, Richards (c) (Watson 84)
Subs not used: Clarke, McDonald, Holmes, Hoskins
Yeovil: Weale, Tozer, Smith, Dickson (c), Thomas (Zoko 60), Fogden (Bird 69), Lacey, Cornick (Jeffers 82), Roberts, Ward, Sheehan
Subs not used: Krysiak, Dolan, Sokolik, Maghoma
Referee: James Linington
Yeovil fans: 199