Five-star Cobblers overpower Hartlepool

GET IN THERE! - Kaid Mohamed celebrates scoring his second goal against Hartlepool (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

GET IN THERE! - Kaid Mohamed celebrates scoring his second goal against Hartlepool (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

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The Cobblers hit the goal trail in devastating style to rout Hartlepool United at Sixfields with an emphatic 5-1 victory.

Marc Richards and Kaid Mohamed both scored twice and Lawson D’Ath also notched in a win that did not look in doubt despite the visitors scoring after only 44 seconds of the game.

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205412009

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205412009

It was as well as the team has performed this season and will generate a fresh - and substantial - wave of optimism around the club that something can be achieved this season.

Chris Wilder made three changes to the team which started at Newport and a tactical tweak for good measure.

Danny Alfei replaced Ben Tozer at right-back, Kaid Mohamed was in for Darren Carter on the left of midfield and Ivan Toney dropped to the bench in favour of Lawson D’Ath, who came off the bench to score in south Wales and was rewarded for that effort with a starting role.

The game was not even a minute old when Hartlepool took the lead, a long ball over the top finding Charlie Wyke who burst clear of Ryan Cresswell, who had slipped, and tucked his shot past Jordan Archer’s left hand.

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205356009

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205356009

But the home side did not have to wait long to restore parity, with Richards confidently drilling home from the spot after Stuart Parnaby had trooped Mohamed as he went outside him.

Richards deserves credit for beginning the attack with a fizzed pass along the ground which was collected 25 yards from goal by Joel Byrom and fed into Mohamed, where he twisted and turned his way into the danger zone.

Chris Hackett saw a shot from the edge of the box well saved - although Town did overplay the build-up slightly - but the second goal was imminent.

Hackett produced one of his classic crosses from the right but went low this timem the ball evading everyone in the box except Mohamed at the back post, who wrapped his right foot around it to fire past Scott Flinders.

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205344009

Northampton Town v Hartlepool. NNL-140916-205344009

Hartlepool looked very shaky at that point but responded well despite losing goalscorer Wyke to a concussion (he was taken to Northampton General Hospital by ambulance at half-time), with Jack Compton driving wide when well placed.

It was a miss for which they were made to pay, with Mohamed nodding in his second of the night, again from a Hackett cross but this time one that was flighted to the back post.

The left-winger was in sizzling form all night and signalled his intent in the first minute of the second half with a shot that Flinders did well to keep out with a save low to his left.

Byrom, in the side primarily to play as a holding central midfielder, beat two players with one touch at one point, and fired in a shot which the visiting goalkeeper held.

D’Ath looked like he had taken too long, and an unnecessary extra touch, for his goal but conjured a good finish for a fourth of the season when under pressure from Flinders.

Substitute Ivan Toney completely mishit a clever Byrom cross but Town did not have to wait long for their fifth, and it was the pick of the bunch.

Richards almost casually took a touch to beat his marker on the inside and unleashed a shot that was simply unstoppable.

By the end, Cobblers players were taking pot shots from all kinds of angles, some more improbable than others, before Richards left the field to a standing ovation.

Moments later, he was confirmed as the sponsors’ man of the match but this was one of those games in which any one of four or five players could have taken that honour.

Hartlepool were poor, admittedly, but they were put away by a virtuoso attacking team performance by the Cobblers.

Facts

Cobblers: Archer; Alfei, Diamond, Cresswell, Robertson; Watson, Byrom; Hackett, D’Ath, Mohamed; Richards

Subs: Collins (for Diamond 41), Toney (for Hackett 73), O’Toole (for Richards 82)

Not used: Carter, Tozer, Snedker, Ravenhill

Hartlepool: Flinders; Parnaby, Bates,

Subs: Harewood (for Wyke 28), Richards (for Parnaby 76), Woods (for Franks 87)

Not used: Holden, Collins, Jones, Woodman

Attendance: 3,653

Hartlepool fans: 130

Referee: Simon Hooper