Toney strikes as Cobblers bounce back

Ivan Toney celebrates after scoring the winner at Morecambe (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Ivan Toney celebrates after scoring the winner at Morecambe (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Ivan Toney’s third goal in a week was enough to secure all three points for the Cobblers at Morecambe.

The ball fell kindly for the striker after a defensive miscommunication, which saw Morecambe keeper Barry Roche stranded for Toney to nod the ball over in the 33rd minute.

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160458005

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160458005

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder made two changes to the side beaten 5-4 by Accrington last time out, with Toney and Ben Tozer coming in for the injured Marc Richards and Daniel Alfei.

The Cobblers settled in quickly to the game and it was Town who had the first chance of the game. Toney was fouled 25 yards from goal and the striker picked himself up to take the free-kick which found the target but also the hands of keeper Barry Roche after two minutes.

Cobblers continued their bright start with Lawson D’Ath whipping in a teasing cross to the back post just moments later, but it was just too heavy for Toney to apply the finishing touch.

The Northampton midfield then picked up on a slack wayward pass in the Morecambe half from Ryan Williams which allowed Ryan Watson to drive at the defence, but his shot from 20 yards was comfortable for Roche.

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160419005

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160419005

Morecambe breached the Northampton defence for the first time after nine minutes with Jack Redshaw latching onto a pass over the top, but Ryan Cresswell got back well to force the Shrimpers striker to overrun the ball behind for a Cobblers goal kick.

The home side looked to utilise the pace of Redshaw over the top, but the Cobblers back four held their shape well to catch the striker offside in the opening stages. Joel Byrom was the first name in the referee’s book on 19 minutes after fouling the forward.

The resulting free-kick led to Morecambe’s first chance of the game. Ryan Williams’ clipped cross was met at the back post by Ryan Edwards, only for Lee Collins to divert the ball behind for a corner which was subsequently cleared to safety.

The Cobblers nearly took the lead on the 27th minute. Chris Hackett played in a brilliant corner which picked out Kaid Mohamed five yards out but his volley was met by an incredible instinctive save from Roche who somehow managed to turn it behind for a corner.

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160403009

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160403009

Northampton’s dominance paid off on the half hour as Ivan Toney opened the scoring. A cross into the box caused confusion in the Morecambe defence, and a poor header away was capitalised on by Toney, who nodded the ball over the on-rushing Roche to give the away side a 1-0 lead.

The away side continued to look dangerous for the rest of the half, particular from wide areas but crosses from Joel Byrom and Chris Hackett couldn’t be converted. That signalled the end of a good half from the Cobblers, who limited the home side to no shots either on or off target.

The second half started again with Cobblers on the front foot. Toney tested Roche on 46 minutes after getting a good header onto Hackett’s cross but the keeper was equal to the effort to tip it behind for a corner.

Morecambe’s first effort on goal came after 55 minutes, but a weak header from Padraig Amond fell wide of the near post and lacked the conviction to test on loan Spurs keeper Jordan Archer.

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160419009

Morecambe v Northampton Town. NNL-140927-160419009

Archer was then forced into his first save of the game after Ryan Williams cut the ball back to Redshaw but Archer was there to dive on a ball that may have already been running wide.

John-Joe O’Toole came on for the Cobblers after 69 minutes, replacing D’Ath who did an effective job both by filling into the midfield when defending, and supporting Toney when the Cobblers moved forward.

Morecambe then had the next chance of note. Joel Byrom seemed to be fouled but the referee waved play on which saw Amond run through on goal but he dragged his shot wide of Archer’s right-hand post on 73 minutes.

Darren Carter replaced Hackett in an attempt to flood the midfield for the final 10 minutes as the Cobblers looked to soak up late Morecambe pressure. Ricky Ravenhill then followed five minutes later, replacing the other winger Mohamed.

Morecambe attempted to rally late on and made three second-half changes to try and force an equaliser, but the only real test came from a long throw that was headed on, forcing Archer to tip behind for a corner. Four minutes was then added on which Northampton saw out comfortably with a succession of corners and throw-ins deep in Morecambe territory.

It was a credit to Chris Wilder and his team to look so composed at the back after shipping five goals just seven days ago against Accrington Stanley. Northampton now move up to fifth place in League Two ahead of next week’s trip to fellow play-off position holders Wycombe Wanderers.

Northampton: Archer, Tozer, Cresswell, Collins (C), Robertson, Hackett (Carter 80), Watson, Byrom, Mohamed (Ravenhill 84), D’Ath (O’Toole 69), Toney.

Subs not used: Snedker, Warburton, Moyo.

Morecambe: Roche; Beeley, Parrish (c), Edwards, Widdowson; Kenyon (Goodall 46), Fleming (Mullin 66), Williams (Sampson 84); Ellison, Redshaw, Amond.

Subs not used: Arestidou, Hughes, Wright, Simpson, McGowan.

Referee: S Duncan