DCSIMG

Jefferson Lake’s Southend v Cobblers view and player ratings: Belief the key

HEADS UP - Clive Platt battles for the ball in Saturday's win at Southend (Picture: Kelly Cooper)

HEADS UP - Clive Platt battles for the ball in Saturday's win at Southend (Picture: Kelly Cooper)

 

As well as being an absolutely crucial victory for the Cobblers, their win at Southend may also represent the first stages of a new-found belief away from home.

The team’s belief would have to have been seriously questioned if they had not emerged from the game at Roots Hall with all three points.

Southend had an injury crisis so bad they had to make a major gamble and call up the talented but temperamental Bilel Mohsni for his first game since the end of last season.

They were for the taking at that point and the odds swung enormously in Northampton’s favour when Roy O’Donovan put them ahead and Mohsni was sent off for an ugly but not malicious challenge on Chris Hackett.

And still it looked like the win would elude them.

Arguably Southend were the better side when reduced to 10 men and even Kelvin Langmead admitted after the game that the Cobblers had been ‘very poor’ in the match.

They invited the home side back into the contest by adopting defensive tactics that handed them the momentum and gave them a foothold in a game they should have been well beaten in, and long before Langmead’s decisive goal too.

But that late goal might be a small indicator that something is changing away from home for the Cobblers.

They were not great in this match - in fact their performance differed very little to the one they produced at Gillingham - and yet they still won it.

It should have been more comfortable and maybe the reason it was not was that Southend are actually a decent side, even with all their injuries, and one in something of a false position.

It was a vital win for Northampton, who can again go third if they beat Wimbledon on Tuesday night and Rotherham fail to win at Bristol Rovers.

The league table will suddenly start to look very exciting again but for now the main thing to be excited about is that maybe, just maybe, the team are starting to find the belief they have away from home that they have in spades at Sixfields.

Jefferson’s player ratings

LEE NICHOLLS

Copybook handling and was the equal of everything Southend had, unfortunate to concede at all ...7

JOHN JOHNSON

A solid return for the sturdy full-back who was bright at both ends of the pitch ...7

KELVIN LANGMEAD

Led by example and was the right man in the right place once again with a vital and decisive goal ...8

BEN TOZER

Really looked the part at centre-back and had a good understanding with Langmead ...8

LEE COLLINS

A first-rate debut full of promise and one in which he won several balls he had no right to ...8

CHRIS HACKETT

Devillish cross led to the game’s winning goal and was a nuisance to the home side with his piercing runs ...8

BEN HARDING

A quiet afternoon but one of his more effective outings since the return from injury ...6

LUKE GUTTRIDGE

Tried to act as the midfield pivot and the majority of his passes were completed ...6

JOE WIDDOWSON

Playing him at left-midfield was a very good decision - his defensive instincts firmed up that flank and made the midfield more solid ...8

ROY O’DONOVAN

Took his goal excellently and provided plenty of energy, both out wide and as a central attacker ...7

CLIVE PLATT

Not his busiest match and made an eyebrow-raising contribution in injury time with a ‘professional’ booking for time-wasting ...6

Substitutes:

ADEBAYO AKINFENWA (for Collins, 70mins)

Unfairly penalised for fouls once or twice but it was his header that led to Langmead’s match-winning goal ...6

MANNY OYELEKE (for Platt, 90+2mins)

 

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