Superb Cobblers cruise past Blackpool

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds
Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds
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An irresistible first half display from Northampton Town saw them cruise into the second round of the Capital One Cup with a dominant 3-0 victory over Blackpool at Sixfields this evening.

The Cobblers took control from the outset as three goals in nine first half minutes put them in total command and left their League One opponents shell-shocked.

Chris Hackett got the ball rolling when he finished off a well-worked move on 21 minutes before Sheffield United loanee Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagged a debut goal with an excellent first-time finish three minutes later.

Sam Hoskins, also making his full debut for Town, then added a third with another well-taken goal and that’s how it remained until half-time despite further chances for the hosts.

The second half was more of a contest but Northampton looked the side likelier to add to their tally, though it finished 3-0.

The Cobblers had gone into the game as favourites despite being a league below their opponents, and they showed why with a dominant performance and a fully deserved victory against a dismal Blackpool side, who were lucky the scoreline wasn’t more one-sided.

Wilder made five changes from Saturday’s win at Bristol Rovers with Ryan Clarke, Lawson D’Ath, Hoskins and Hackett coming into the starting line-up, and Cobblers fans also got a first look at 18-year-old Calvert-Lewin.

A cagey first few minutes gave no indication of what was to come as Northampton wrestled total control as early as the eighth minute when they struck the woodwork twice in a minute.

First, Hoskins turned Josh Lelan’s low cross onto the post before Hackett’s devilish ball into the box was flicked onto the top of the crossbar by Calvert-Lewin.

The lively young striker was proving a handful in the early stages, much like his team-mates, and he again went close when stand-in captain David Buchanan whipped in an inviting cross but the loanee’s diving header whistled just wide.

The home side continued to dominate possession and work the ball around well as they probed for an opening, and it didn’t take long for the breakthrough to arrive when a fabulously-constructed move resulted in D’Ath feeding Buchanan down the left and his low cross was turned home by Hackett via a deflection.

The goal was no more than Northampton’s play had deserved, and soon it was to be 2-0 when a defender’s clearance from Hackett’s cross hit his own player and the ball fell kindly for Calvert-Lewin, who brilliantly swivelled and finished low into the corner for a debut goal.

The now rampant home side came surging forward again and they wasted no time in adding a third when they took full advantage of some more slack defending as a neat interchange between Hoskins and Hackett on the edge of the area saw the former skip past a defender before finishing well after his initial effort had been blocked.

That made it three goals in a remarkable nine-minute spell and the home side were threatening to run riot against their League One opponents.

The beleaguered Seasiders tried to conjure up a response and they carved out a glorious chance to pull a goal back when Kwame Thomas pulled the ball back to Jack Redshaw, but the former Manchester City player inexcusably scuffed his shot from eight yards out with the goal at his mercy.

That miss summed up Blackpool’s night and although the home side relented, they remained firmly in the ascendency and comfortably maintained their lead through to half-time.

The Cobblers then picked up from where they left off in the second half and almost instantly increased their lead with a neatly-worked free-kick which saw Buchanan slip in Joel Byrom, but Letheran saved well at his near post.

Minutes later it was Ryan Cresswell’s turn to go close when he scooped over another low cross into the box following yet more questionable Blackpool defending.

Having survived those near misses, the visitors then almost got themselves back into the match with a rare foray into Northampton territory, but Thomas was unable to get a clean connection to a low drilled cross.

Back up the other end, where most of the action was occurring, substitute John-Joe O’Toole nearly made an immediate impact.

Having just come off the bench, he couldn’t get enough power on his header to beat Letheren.

Although the second half was a more even contest, the home side maintained the greater goal threat and Calvert-Lewin continued to catch the eye as he controlled well on the edge of the box, spun beyond his man but couldn’t quite get enough on his shot to trouble Letheren.

Clarke had been largely a spectator in the home goal but he was finally called into action for the first time midway though the second period when he comfortably saved low down at his near post from Cameron’s effort.

The introduction of Ricky Holmes and Alfie Potter failed to stem the tide as Town continued to toy with their opponents and Hoskins and Potter combined well to tee up O’Toole, but the midfielder could only spoon over.

There were further openings for the hosts but they would have to settle for three goals and a place in the second round of the competition for the fifth time in six years.

Cobblers: Clarke, Lelan, Diamond, Cresswell, Buchanan (c), Hackett (Potter 74), Byrom, Taylor (O’Toole 59), D’Ath (Holmes 64), Calvert-Lewin, Hoskins

Subs not used: Smith, Richards, Corry, McDonald

Blackpool: Letheren, Ferguson (c), McAlister, Robertson, Jones, Potts (Cameron 45), Aldred, Thomas, Cubero (Oliver 55), Cullen, Redshaw (Osayi-Samuel 45)

Subs not used: Boyce, Boney, Dunne, Higham

Referee: James Adcock

Attendance: 2,549

Blackpool fans: 305