Wilder takes the positives from Accrington draw

Skipper Marc Richards is expected to be fit for this weekend's game with the league leaders
Skipper Marc Richards is expected to be fit for this weekend's game with the league leaders

Northampton manager Chris Wilder described the Cobblers’ 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley this afternoon as a “fair result” but felt his side created enough chances to take all three points.

The visitors struggled to get going in a first half that was dominated by the home side, however Stanley’s failure to capitalise on their chances came back to haunt them when Marc Richards’ delicate finish gave Town am undeserved half-time lead.

Accrington picked up from where they left off after the restart and finally their pressure paid off when Josh Windass emphatically powered home a spot-kick.

The Cobblers finished strongly, though, with Richards, Nicky Adams and Sam Hoskins all denied by fine saves from Jason Mooney in the home goal.

Wilder said afterwards: “I think it was a fair result. I wasn’t too pleased with our first half performance.

“We were second best but got a great goal just before half-time which gave us some breathing space, and then it wasn’t a great start to the second half in terms of the penalty we gave away.

“It was a poor challenge and I thought the boy went over quite easily but if there’s any contact the referee is going to make a decision.

“We introduced a couple of players and I thought for the last 25 to 30mins we possibly should have gone on to win the game with the amount of chances and possession we had.

“It’s been a difficult week for us and we’ve done a lot of travelling. I’m not giving any excuses but we looked quite a tired team in the first 40 minutes.

“But we dug in and got a result and I think that’s part of being successful. If we are going to kick-on we have to come to places like this and get a result and we’ve done that.

“At any level it’s about winning first and second balls. If you win first and second balls and you’re bright and sharp that allows you to play and to control the game.

“But if you don’t do that then it gives the opposition an opportunity to hurt you and Accrington did that – they were brighter and sharper than us in the first half.

“When we did get a foothold, I thought we opened them up and their goalkeeper made more saves than ours.”

Wilder praised goalkeeper Adam Smith’s kicking after the Cobblers stopper set up the opening goal with a long ball forward which Richards latched onto before brilliantly finishing past Mooney

“We’re going to use Smith’s kicking to our advantage,” Wilder added. “Modern day keepers are great with their feet and Smith is exactly that.

“That’s why I bought him into the club and Ryan (Clarke) is the same.

“It was a great finish and gave us an undeserved lead at half-time.

“We then showed a lot of heart and a lot of character to drive the game forward and made positives subs to try and win the game.

“If you can’t win you have to make sure you get something and that was the message today.

“We haven’t won but we’ve come away with a valuable point. We didn’t deserve to win – they were the better team first half and we were the better team in the second half.

“We’ve created enough to win the game but overall the result is fair and it’s a decent outcome for us after a tough week.”

Wilder also confirmed that John-Joe O’Toole is not injured and his omission from today’s squad was a decision taken by the Cobblers boss.

However, he insists that both O’Toole and Chris Hackett, who’s also on the transfer list but was on the bench at Accrington, are available for selection for future games.

Wilder added: “I’ve picked an 18 to come up here. The situation with John-Joe and Chris Hackett hasn’t changed. My position has not changed on either.

“They’re both available and we have to balance it. We made a decision to bring these 18 players up to get a result today and they’ve done that.”