Hackett back to his best as Cobblers secure vital win

Cobblers players celebrate Mathias Doumbe's opener at Sixfields (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Cobblers players celebrate Mathias Doumbe's opener at Sixfields (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
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A pair of Chris Hackett-created Cobblers goals was enough to sink Hartlepool and secure three priceless points.

The winger provided the free-kick for Mathias Doumbe’s first goal for the club and the cross for Brennan Dickenson’s maiden score in claret and white.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

It was enough to beat a poor and strangely argumentative Pools side 2-0 and provide a first win at Sixfields in five matches.

It does not, however, lift Northampton off the foot of the table although they are now level on points with Torquay United in the bottom two.

Town’s first sight of a chance came when Dickenson found space for a cross on the left wing and passed low only to see Hackett fail to make any sort of contact on the ball.

There then followed a delay as visiting right-back Michael Duckworth was treated for an injury and eventually left the field on a stretcher and in visible agony.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

When the game re-started, Dickenson got his head on an excellent whipped Leon McSweeney cross from the dead ball line but could not divert his effort goalwards.

Zander Diamond, who had a good debut, headed a deep Darren Carter cross back into the danger area and John Marquis volleyed it over the bar from 14 yards.

Diamond’s presence at set plays was a feature of the game and he again provided the aerial presence that presented Emile Sinclair with a hooked chance that Scott Flinders comfortably took in the Hartlepool goal.

For most of the match, free-kicks and corners had been aimed at the back post and that area proved profitable for the opening goal.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

McSweeney was fouled high on the right wing and Hackett delivered the free-kick onto the left foot of Joe Widdowson as he arrived at the back post.

Wilder had been signalling for the move as the free-kick was being prepared and the visiting defence were almost certainly paying more attention to Diamond than Widdowson, who rarely goes forward for set plays.

But the left-back did on this occasion and sent the ball to the back post where Doumbe, under pressure from two markers, headed down and into the net.

It was important for the home side to make a strong start to the second half and they did precisely that, Hackett speeding down the right and crossing expertly for Dickenson to score with a low header.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Hackett himself went close with a measured effort that deflected narrowly wide just moments later.

The winger burst clear of his marker midway through the second half but after completing a 40-yard sprint his shot was off target.

Alan Connell came on for an interesting cameo that include a Cruyff turn and a glanced header that missed the back post by a yard or two.

Matt Duke had very little to do all afternoon but made a fine save to keep out a Luke Williams shot after the midfielder had ghosted past two players.

Cobblers: Duke, McSweeney, Diamond, Doumbe, Widdowson, Hackett, Ravenhill, Carter, Dickenson, Marquis, Sinclair

Subs: Robertson (for Widdowson 66), Connell (for Sinclair 66), Deegan (for Marquis 85)

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Cobblers V Hartlepool.

Not used: Morris, Tozer, Snedker, Deegan, Connell, German, Robertson

Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Burgess, Holden, Barmby, Walton, Walker, Williams, James, Harewood

Subs: Richards (for Duckworth 11), Franks (for Harewood 66), Compton (for Barmby 66)

Not used: Franks, Poole, Monkhouse, Rafferty, Compton, Sweeney

Attendance: 4,083

Away fans: 268