Northampton Town 3 York City 0 - Jefferson Lake’s view and player ratings

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - Ricky Holmes is all smiles after being fouled for the penalty the Cobblers won against York City, although Marc Richards' effort was saved (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)
TOO HOT TO HANDLE - Ricky Holmes is all smiles after being fouled for the penalty the Cobblers won against York City, although Marc Richards' effort was saved (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)

The Cobblers’ latest win - their sixth in eight games - was a controlled one by a team who know they are always capable of scoring goals and do so with a ruthless regularity.

They did not really have to excel against York, who looked short of confidence despite their two good recent performances, and were again indebted to their ability to make quick start to games and get on the scoresheet during early periods of dominance.

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174031009

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174031009

On Saturday, Ryan Cresswell could (and should) have put them in front in the first minute of the game but 120 seconds later they were ahead anyway, and did not look back.

They did not look like conceding and that stubbornness, when combined with the creative capabilities the team has at the other end, it is a potent proposition.

York were swept aside by their trademark start at the beginning of both halves and with an excellent third goal late in the game to add a dash of verve to what was a largely functional victory.

So the question remains - can this current Northampton side finish in the top seven this season and have a crack at a promotion through the play-offs?

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174041009

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174041009

You have to say it looks a long shot. To reach the typical play-off mark of 70 points the team would need to take 26 points from the remaining 14 matches.

It’s not impossible but it is highly unlikely and allows for almost no margin for error. At the very least, they would need to win the seven home games that are left, and avoid defeat in the majority of the away ones.

When you consider they still have the top two - Burton and Shrewsbury, who are next Saturday’s opponents - to play, plus two sides already in the play-off places - Plymouth and Bury, then it looks a difficult challenge.

Add in home games against the teams currently third and fourth in league two, Luton and Wycombe, and it becomes even more fiendish.

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-171534009

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-171534009

The situation will of course change on a weekly basis but a clearer picture will gradually develop; March contains six fixtures with two Tuesday night games scheduled and so will provide a pretty solid litmus test of the team’s capabilities this term.

It will be difficult to make predictions right up until the end of the season but one thing can be said with some certainty and that is that this is a team moving in the right direction.

They are not without their frailties, as exposed by the trips to Hartlepool and Mansfield last week, but the win over York was very much a return to form and one which has again set the pulses of positivity racing.

Of Saturday’s starting 11, only Matt Duke, Lee Collins, Jason Taylor and Joel Byrom have contracts which expire in the summer and the vast majority of the rest of the team are on long-term deals.

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174101009

Cobblers V York City. NNL-150221-174101009

This is a group of players which can be kept together and nurtured. So even if it’s not to be this season, then the future definitely looks bright.

Player ratings


Didn’t have a great deal to do but made saves when he had to without ever really extending himself. Kicking improved as the afternoon went on ...7


Scored the second goal but was hesitant earlier in the game when he should have advanced into the box and got a shot away. Still, a good performance ...7


Shrugged off an injury to complete the full 90 minutes and contributed plenty of steel to the clean sheet, although he will know he should have scored ...7


Seemed to play with more explosive pace this week and was never troubled by any long passes down his sides. A big improvement on Mansfield display ...7


Had few problems seeing off the threat of returning ex-Cobbler Emile Sinclair and got forward more as the game went on ...7


The midfielder is not in the team to be the playmaker but that’s what he was in the first half, playing some excellent passes to the wide players and showing invention on the ball ...8


Took an almighty clattering in the second half and linked up play well throughout the game without ever doing anything too flashy ...7


A quiet afternoon by his standards, although he did well when the team counter-attacked, and was another one who seemed to play through the pain barrier for a period ...7


Played a part in the first and third goals and won the penalty which Richards missed. Was a menace to the visiting defence all game and the pick of the players on the day ...8 STAR MAN


Shone brightly in the early stages of his return to the starting line-up and although he looks much more comfortable out wide he took his goal well and played his part ...7


Will be concerned about his penalty miss (although he scored the most crucial one of the past three) and played well as a link-up man, making personal sacrifices for the good of the team with unselfish runs ...7


IVAN TONEY (for Hackett 67)

Added a spark of flair and fire when he came on and took his goal superbly well. Has given the manager something of a headache ...7

DARREN CARTER (for Byrom 76)

Played the final 20 minutes so Byrom could go off as a precaution and did not disappoint. His pass in the build-up to the third goal was exquisite ...7

Not used: Bodin, Snedker, McWilliams, Newey, Clifton