Two-goal Akinfenwa inspires Cobblers to Sixfields victory

ON TARGET - Chris Hackett in action against Wycombe (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
ON TARGET - Chris Hackett in action against Wycombe (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Adebayo Akinfenwa took his goal tally for the season to 12 as the Cobblers defeated a stubborn and luckless Wycombe Wanderers at Sixfields.

Akinfenwa scored either side of the break and Chris Hackett put the seal on the result with a fine second-half goal to ensure Town took the points with a 3-1 win.

Joel Grant scored a penalty with 18 minutes to go and the visitors hit the woodwork twice and they sought to make light of their position at the foot of the table.

But they slipped to the bottom of npower League Two with this defeat, while Northampton are now 11th and two points behind the final play-off place, occupied by Burton Albion.

Despite their dominance in the first 20 minutes, Town got lucky when they failed to clear a corner that went back into the box, was headed back across the box and into the path of Charles Dunne, whose shot hit the foot of the post.

Had the opportunity fallen to a striker, and not the visiting left-back, the end result might have been dramatically different.

Dunne got a second sight of goal moments later when he swung a first-time effort narrowly over the bar after being played in on the edge of the box.

But it was the home side who opened the scoring, Lewis Hornby bravely winning the ball in midfield and Chris Hackett putting the cross on a plate for Akinfenwa, who had some work to do to score but did it with typical power.

The striker almost got a second from a method that has been highly productive this season, nodding Ben Tozer’s long throw just wide of the near post.

The home side felt they should have had a penalty when Ishmel Demontagnac went to ground between a couple of defenders after bursting into the box; it was very similiar to the one he did win at Bradford on Tuesday but on this occasion the referee waved away the appeals.

The second half started slowly for the home side, and they were provided with a warning when Dean Morgan hit the post from a position in which it looked easier to score.

It was the only alarm they needed. Clive Platt won a header and just after he did so, felt Dave Winfield’s arm across his face. This time, the referee awarded the penalty and Akinfenwa despatched it.

The goal gave Northampton a two-goal lead at a crucial point, but spare a thought for Jake Robinson, who lashed a volley into the roof of the net from 20 yards at precisely the moment the referee blew for the foul.

The ball was in the net for a third time in the space of a few minutes when a Town counter-attack that included three one-touch passes ended with Hackett smashing the ball inside Jordan Archer’s near post.

It was a beautiful and ruthless piece of counter-attacking and enough to dissolve the momentum of a Wycombe side who had fought hard to stay in the contest up to that point.

They were given a lifeline when Danny East crashed into Morgan on the corner of the box when competing for a high ball for what is possibly the clearest penalty you will see at Sixfields this season. Joel Grant took it and scored it.

But it was not enough. Akinfenwa almost completed a second hat-trick in a week with a header that clipped the crossbar, Kelvin Langmead’s attempts to smuggle it over the line well blocked by Archer.

Wycombe’s best chance of generating a grandstand finish came with three minutes to go when left-back Dunn raced clear only to see his shot well blocked by the advancing Lee Nicholls.

Morgan flashed a header wide in injury-time, one of numerous chances in a game Wycombe lost but from which they will certainly feel they could have taken something.

Northampton: Nicholls, East, Langmead, Tozer, Widdowson, Robinson, Hornby, Harding, Demontagnac, Hackett, Akinfenwa

Subs: Platt (for Demontagnac 59mins), Moyo (for Akinfenwa 78mins), Charles (for Robinson 88mins)

Not used: Higgs, Mukendi, Wilson, Toney

Wycombe: Archer, Foster, Winfield, Johnson, Dunne, Grant, Lewis, Scowen, Wood, Oli, Morgan

Subs: Andrade (for Wood, 66mins), McClure (for Oli, 68mins)

Not used: Ainsworth, Andrade, Harrison, Kewley-Graham, Morias, Taylor

Attendance: 4,764

Away fans: 471