Northampton Town 3 Newport County 0 - Jefferson Lake’s view and player ratings

GET IN THERE! - Lawson D'Ath celebrates his goal in the Cobblers' 3-0 win over Newport (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
GET IN THERE! - Lawson D'Ath celebrates his goal in the Cobblers' 3-0 win over Newport (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Everything seems to be about sequences for the Cobblers at the moment - three straights wins, three successive clean sheets and an unbeaten run which now spreads to four games.

They have also fielded the same starting 11 for four games in a row and it is that consistency which has underpinned their good results.

Northampton Town v Newport County'Lawson D'Ath NNL-150125-095241009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Lawson D'Ath NNL-150125-095241009

The net result is that - against Newport - the team produced its best performance of the season so far, attacking with flair and invention and defending with a blood-stained brute force; the excellent Brendan Moloney at right-back actually managed to do both.

The other contenders for performance of the season were all admirable, particularly the resilient 2-0 win at Dagenham and the flashy 5-1 rout of Hartlepool, but both of those successes came against struggling sides, and in the case of the latter team one of the worst Football League 11s assembled in the past decade.

Newport are not a poor side, in fact they are a very good side and remain firmly cemented in the league two play-off places despite their double dose of East Anglian agony, first at Cambridge (4-0) and then at Sixfields (3-0).

This is a team which won seven out of eight games before their trip to the Abbey Stadium and who in September wiped the floor with Northampton for an hour before sloppily letting their guard drop and conceding two ultimately inconsequential goals.

Northampton Town v Newport County NNL-150125-095228009

Northampton Town v Newport County NNL-150125-095228009

From the very first minute of the return game between the teams, the Cobblers dominated them, and Marc Richards was unlucky not to win a penalty with the first attack of the game when he was clattered at full speed by the goalkeeper.

No matter; the die was cast. Ricky Holmes had a shot cleared off the line after that incident and 20 minutes later a two-goal lead had been established, with Ryan Cresswell and John-Joe O’Toole producing near-identical back-post headers to score from excellent Joel Byrom corners.

Before and after those goals the team produced some superb pieces of passing football, moving the ball quickly and effectively just as other teams have done against them at various points this season, notably Bury.

The 2-0 scoreline is a slightly uncertain one because a single goal for the opposition reignites the competitive fire of the match but Lawson D’Ath put the matter to bed with a strong solo run.

Northampton Town v Newport County'Joel Byrom NNL-150125-095615009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Joel Byrom NNL-150125-095615009

This was a fully deserved victory and further illustrates the progress the team has made since being altered by manager Chris Wilder’s January transfer work.

Because it’s all very well beating Dagenham and Hartlepool but the real measure is against the good teams, such as Newport.

A week ago the Cobblers looked a cut above a team who were in the relegation zone, dampening any concerns they might become involved in that particular footballing battle.

On Saturday they looked a cut above a team firmly entrenched in the play-offs, which suggests something altogether quite different.

Northampton Town v Newport County'Justin Edinburgh NNL-150125-095602009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Justin Edinburgh NNL-150125-095602009

If this team stays injury free then, really, anything is possible.

They only have 19 games left to play. But the top seven is now only seven points away.

Player ratings

MATT DUKE

Like last week, the goalkeeper was almost a spectator for long spells, although his workload did increase slightly in the second half and he actually had to sweat a little ...7

BRENDAN MOLONEY

Northampton Town v Newport County'John-Joe O'Toole and Chris Wilder NNL-150125-095549009

Northampton Town v Newport County'John-Joe O'Toole and Chris Wilder NNL-150125-095549009

What a signing the right-back is turning out to be. Is silk-smooth in the execution of everything he does, whether it be in attack or defence and plays with extreme pace and precision ...8 STAR MAN

RYAN CRESSWELL

A beastly display from the defender, who relishes winning the ball and did so consistently. Capped his afternoon with a well-taken third goal of the season too ...8

LEE COLLINS

Didn’t play with the same intensity as Cresswell but was no less effective, quietly sweeping up and distributing the ball well from the back. Fully deserves his place in the team ...7

EVAN HORWOOD

Is improving with every game both in terms of his sharpness and his overall contribution, although he didn’t find himself in many attacking areas on Saturday ...7

JASON TAYLOR

His influence on the team continues to grow and he is getting more confident with his passing but his primary role is to break up play and he does this to good effect ...7

JOEL BYROM

In many ways, the unsung hero of the team in the past month - never wastes a pass and is always available for the ball. He also created the first two goals with corner kicks of pinpoint accuracy ...8

RICKY HOLMES

A quieter game than his others for the club but no less effective - plays with a total energy which unsettles the opposition, and gives good protection to his full-back too ...7

JOHN-JOE O’TOOLE

Was withdrawn early with a groin strain but would have completed 90 minutes otherwise and would have deserved to, as he was getting around the pitch and using the ball well ...8

LAWSON D’ATH

Similar to Holmes in that neither created any fireworks but both were important cogs in the engine of the bigger picture - the team performance. But took his goal beautifully and showed great skill to manipulate the space he had ...8

MARC RICHARDS

Was unfortunate not to win a penalty in the first seconds of the game and unselfishly linked up the play rather than pursuing individual glory ...7

Substitutes:

IVAN TONEY (for O’Toole 65),

Never really picked up the thread of the game and let himself down with a terrible effort from a free-kick ...6

BEN TOZER (for Richards 81)

CHRIS HACKETT (for Holmes 86)

Not used: Carter, Snedker, Hornby, Diamond

Northampton Town v Newport County'Evan Horwood NNL-150125-095442009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Evan Horwood NNL-150125-095442009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Joel Byrom NNL-150125-095429009

Northampton Town v Newport County'Joel Byrom NNL-150125-095429009