Dominant Cobblers breeze past Oldham to boost promotion hopes
Having stuttered and stumbled their way through the past few weeks, Town were dominant against the struggling Latics, especially once Jon Guthrie poked them into the lead late in the first-half.
The visitors could have scored five or six in the second 45 minutes alone but Louis Appere’s second goal for the club was more than sufficient to clinch victory and lift the Cobblers back to fourth.
They also chalked up their 20th clean sheet of the season in the process and have consolidated a place in the play-offs, particularly with Mansfield, Newport and Salford beaten elsewhere.
Shaun McWilliams and Ali Koiki replaced Scott Pollock and Joseph Mills respectively and Cobblers thought they had made the ideal start at Boundary Park when Louis Appere touched in Mitch Pinnock’s low cross just six minutes in, only for the offside flag to go up.
Town started with purpose and some quick-thinking by Pinnock from a throw-in saw Aaron McGowan get free in the box but his sweetly-struck shot was fired into the midriff of goalkeeper Danny Rogers.
A promising start fizzled out, however, and the game quickly deteriorated into a bitty, disjointed affair. That suited Oldham more than the visitors and they almost broke the deadlock after 35 minutes but Liam Roberts beat away Alex Hunt’s low drive and was up quickly to keep out Harrison McGahey’s follow-up effort.
Just as the first-half looked destined to end goalless, Cobblers struck in the dying moments. The goal came from a predictable source as Sam Hoskins’ free-kick evaded almost everyone before being steered into the corner by Guthrie at the back post.
Rogers made a comfortable save from Appere at the start of the second-half and it was then Oldham’s turn to have a goal chalked off when Carl Piergianni’s effort was ruled out for handball.
Oldham were starting to crank up the pressure, although they nearly got caught on the counter-attack when a fantastic throw by Roberts sent Hoskins racing away but Rogers was off his line smartly to smother at his feet.
No matter, Cobblers did have a second goal midway through the second-half when McGowan won possession back and found Josh Eppiah, who raced away down the right and pulled the ball back for Appere to finish first-time.
Within minutes Appere missed a chance to score his second and Town’s third, side-footing wide after holding off a defender, and Sowerby fired over from the edge of the box while the visitors also messed up a four-on-two opportunity on the counter-attack.
Ali Koiki was denied a brilliant solo goal by the firm wrists of Rogers with 10 minutes to go, and the game then ended in ugly fashion as an elbow by Carl Piergianni sparked a brawl between players on both sides, with the Oldham man sent off at the end of it. Hoskins and Koiki also saw yellow but that did not take away from an excellent and important victory.
Oldham: Rogers, Clarke, Hart, McGahey, Piergianni ©, Adams, Hunt (Jameson 67), Missilou, Luamba (Hopcutt 70), Obadeyi (Couto 73), Keillor-Dunn
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Diarra, Sutton
Cobblers: Roberts, McGowan, Horsfall ©, Guthrie, Koiki, McWilliams, Sowerby, Hoskins (Kanu 90), Eppiah (Zimba 85), Pinnock, Appere (Rose 79)
Subs not used: Maxted, Harriman, Mills, Pollock
Referee: Sam Purkiss
Cobblers fans: 456