Edinburgh praises players as Cobblers respond to midweek setback to sink Charlton

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh hailed his players after they bounced back from their midweek disappointment to see off Charlton Athletic 2-1 at Sixfields on Saturday.

Saturday, 4th March 2017, 6:28 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:59 am
Michael Smith and Aaron Phillips celebrate after the pair combined for the Cobblers' first goal (Pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Town found themselves in the thick of the relegation battle following Tuesday night's home defeat at the hands of Oldham Athletic, and the pressure was on the players to produce against another struggling team in the Addicks.

The Cobblers did just that as goals from Michael Smith and John-Joe O'Toole sealed a deserved win over Charlton, who now drop below the Cobblers in the Sky Bet League One table.

With results elsewhere favourable, Town are now 15th in the table and seven points clear of the bottom four, and Edinburgh was a happy man

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Gaby Zakuani suffered a hamstring strain

"We were bitterly disappointed with the end result on Tuesday, and the manner in which we lost the game, but full credit to the players today," said the Cobblers boss.

"We asked questions of one another this week, and today they have found the answers.

"It was a good atmosphere, a good game in difficult conditions, but certainly in the second half I thought we controlled the game, and I am obviously delighted with a big three points."

Smith headed the Cobblers in front with his first goal for the club in the first half, only for Charlton to level before the break.

John-Joe O'Toole celebrates his winning goal

Town then controlled proceedings for much of the second half, and O'Toole's 12th goal of the campaign, and seventh in the past seven games, sealed the points on 61 minutes.

Both goals were set up by right-back Aaron Phillips, who was a late call up to the team after Neal Eardley dropped out as his partner went into labour and gave birth on Saturday morning.

The former Coventry City man was outstanding, as was Smith, and Edinburgh singled both players out for praise.

"There were a lot of really strong performances today, throughout the team," said the Cobblers boss.

Gaby Zakuani suffered a hamstring strain

"I am really pleased for Michael Smith, whose all-round game has been excellent since he has been here, and his work-rate has been great.

"Hopefully that goal can set him up now for a few more goals as we go along, and a special mention for Aaron Phillips,

"He has had to be patient, but I thought he was excellent from start to finish against a really strong opponent.

"He kept him quiet, but not only did he do that, he set two goals up and I am really pleased for him.

John-Joe O'Toole celebrates his winning goal

"That is what you ask of players. You try and get them up to speed, and when they get their chance you want them to have an impact and that was certainly the case."

The only down side to the afternoon for the Cobblers was an injury to central defender Gaby Zakuani, who was forced off the pitch after just 20 minutes.

He was injured in a collision with Adam Smith, and Edinburgh said: "It looks like it is a recurrence of the hamstring injury he had before.

"That is a real blow for us, and for Gaby himself.

"I guess after the weekend we will get him scanned and on Monday or Tuesday we will have a clearer idea of the extent of the injury, but it doesn't look great."