Cobblers 'targeted' Port Vale goalkeeper Covolan prior to red card

Visiting stopper took an early bath for tripping Kabamba

Monday, 9th August 2021, 10:33 am
Lucas Covolan has his head in his hands after being sent off. Picture: Pete Norton.

The incident which led to Port Vale goalkeeper Lucas Covolan taking an early bath during Saturday's opening game of the season at Sixfields did not come about by accident.

Cobblers, leading 1-0 through Benny Ashley-Seal's close-range goal, were given a huge helping hand in their quest for victory by Covolan's moment of madness early in the second-half.

The goalkeeper lost possession outside his box after brilliant work by Nicke Kabamba and then blatantly tripped Town's striker as he bore down on the empty goal.

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Covolan, who was also sent off in a friendly last week, unsurprisingly saw red and manager Jon Brady revealed afterwards it was something he and his coaching team had pinpointed before the game.

"Obviously the real turning point in the game was Covolan getting sent off," he said. "Nicke did really well and that was something we targeted before the game.

"We knew their goalkeeper would get involved in the game and come off his line to get involved in the play and we wanted to hunt him down.

"Nicke did brilliantly to do that and get the ball back and that was obviously a big moment."

Despite being a man and a goal up, the Cobblers were still made to work hard for their victory, however the impact of substitutes Danny Rose, Shaun McWilliams and the electric Ali Koiki helped seal all three points.

"Rosey's very good at keeping the ball and he's clever in his play and he helped us get up the pitch and you saw that," Brady added.

"You saw with Shaun as well, with his pace in midfield, he can lock off any counter-attacks, and then Ali came on and he had a real impact on the game and I was really pleased for him.

"That was a tough call today - between him and Millsy at left-back. I went with my captain and I thought he was superb, but Ali took it on the chin, came on with the right attitude and really effected the game."