Richards’ double extends Cobblers’ winning streak at Dagenham

DOUBLE DELIGHT - Marc Richards heads home the Cobblers' second at Dagenham (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

DOUBLE DELIGHT - Marc Richards heads home the Cobblers' second at Dagenham (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

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Marc Richards’ first-half double was enough to extend the Cobblers winning streak at Dagenham & Redbridge to five games.

Richards scored after eight and 23 minutes at Victoria Road as Town completed a 2-0 win in which they played some of their best attacking football of the season so far.

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-160431009

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-160431009

It maintains the club’s 100 per cent record at Dagenham and is their first away victory in the league of the current campaign.

To anyone looking at league tables at this point, it puts Northampton seventh in Sky Bet League Two and three points off early leaders Cheltenham Town.

But most importantly it illustrated a growing confidence and understanding among the team’s attacking players that had not really been seen until this point.

Although there has never been a question mark about the defence, it will please Chris Wilder that his back line collected a second successive clean sheet as the Daggers were largely held at arm’s length.

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-160404009

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-160404009

Both new signings made their debuts, with Ryan Watson forming an all-loanee central midfield partnership with Joel Byrom and Ryan Cresswell in for the injured Lee Collins at the heart of the back four.

The game started with both teams playing with speed and intensity and after only eight minutes Richards had put the visitors ahead.

His finish was a cool one and he had taken up a very good position, while Ivan Toney did well in build-up to win a vital header in midfield and start the move.

But the majority of the work was done by Kaid Mohamed, who was set free down the left by Toney and whose pace saw him carry the ball fully 40 yards before presenting it on a plate for his number nine.

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172411005

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172411005

Liam O’Brien made a good save in the Dagenham goal on the 19-minute mark after Mohamed had picked out Hackett on the edge of the box and the winger had dropped his shoulder to fire away a right-footed effort.

Hackett was a key component of just about all of Northampton’s good attacks and crossed for Richards to force O’Brien into another good save at his back post moments later.

The keeper, however, had no chance with the striker’s second goal. Richards dummied to run in at a corner, peeled back out and then headed Joel Byrom’s corner across the target and into the far corner.

Richards almost turned provider for Mohamed five minutes before half-time when he headed a deep Hackett pass into the winger’s path only for O’Brien to comfortably field the stabbed shot.

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172315009

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172315009

Brian Saah had to clear a Richards shot off his own goal line after Toney and Hackett had combined to good effect down the right - the latter really enjoyed himself at times in this game.

The home side improved after the break and Luke Howell drew a good, high save from Matt Duke and Jamie Cureton dragged a left-footed shot wide on the turn before side-footing a Matt Partridge cross from the touchline wide.

Lawson D’Ath, on as a substitute, enjoyed a nice little cameo on the right wing and almost capped it with a left-footed shot which deflected narrowly wide of O’Brien’s right-hand post.

Cobblers (4-4-2): Duke; Tozer, Cresswell, Diamond, Robertson; Hackett, Watson, Byrom, Mohamed; Toney, Richards

Subs: O’Toole (for Toney 70), D’Ath (for Hackett 77), Moyo (for Richards 90)

Not used: Brown, Carter, Ravenhill, Roberts

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172349005

Dagenham v Northampton Town FC NNL-140609-172349005

Dagenham (4-3-3): O’Brien; Batt, Saah, Gayle, Partridge; Howell, Ogogo, Boucaud; Porter, Cureton, Hemmings

Subs: Goldberg (for Howell 69), Green (for Porter 69), Bloomfield (for Partridge 90+1)

Not used: Cousins, Labadie, Raymond

Attendance: 2,186

Cobblers fans: 552

Referee: Graham Horwood