Five-star Cobblers thump Oldham to sign off in style
Cobblers signed off their 2018/19 campaign in spectacular style when thumping Oldham Athletic 5-2 at Boundary Park on Saturday afternoon.
An underwhelming season finished on a high note for the 452 visiting fans in attendance in Greater Manchester as Northampton scored five times during a dominant away performance, securing 15th place in the final Sky Bet League Two standings.
Town fell behind early on but they fought back impressively with two goals in seven minutes as Sam Hoskins' late contender for goal of the season drew them level before Aaron Pierre headed home his eighth of the campaign to put the visitors in front.
Top scorer Andy Williams then notched his 11th of the season with an easy finish on the cusp of half-time and he added another early in the second-half before Junior Morias completed the rout late on.
The win will not make up for what has been a disappointing campaign for the Cobblers but it was still a positive way to sign off, and hopefully it'll be a sign of better things to come when the new season rolls around in August.
Keith Curle's final matchday squad of the season could find no place for long-serving duo John-Joe O'Toole and David Buchanan, suggesting both will leave the club when their contracts expire in the coming weeks.
There was a nod to the future with teenagers Scott Pollock and Jay Williams both starting, as did fellow academy graduate Shaun McWilliams who played in a midfield three as Town lined up 4-3-3.
Williams started at centre-half as Jordan Turnbull moved across to left-back, and Cobblers made a bright enough start at Boundary Park with Daniel Powell and Foley finding advanced positions in the early stages.
But Oldham were ahead against the run of play on 11 minutes when a Northampton attack broke down and the hosts countered through Callum Lang before Charlie Goode's sliding tackle inadvertently saw the ball drop to Johan Branger-Engone, who lashed home via the post from 20 yards.
It was an excellent strike by the Oldham forward but he was to be outdone 10 minutes later when Town, having struggled to reassert themselves after going behind, drew level in brilliant fashion through Hoskins.
A free-kick into the penalty box looked to have been dealt with by Oldham but the ball dropped to Hoskins on the edge and he unleashed a thumping first-time shot that whistled past Daniel Iversen and into the top corner for his seventh of the campaign.
The equaliser jolted Northampton back into life and they regained the upper-hand, completing the turnaround just short of the half-hour mark.
Foley's well-struck shot forced Iversen to tip around the post and the subsequent corner was taken short to Hoskins, who whipped in a perfect cross for an unmarked Pierre to powerfully head home his eighth of the season.
Town continued to play the better, more purposeful football, and it got better for them with a third goal a minute before half-time. Powell did the donkey work when winning back possession and driving into the box, but his shot hit the post and Williams took the plaudits, tapping the rebound into an empty net.
The interval didn't disrupt Cobblers' momentum and they increased their advantage just five minutes into the second period. More poor defending from Oldham saw Foley wriggle free in the box and he picked out Williams, who swept into the bottom corner.
The visitors were in total command but Oldham gave themselves a glimmer of hope shortly after the hour-mark when Callum Lang was on hand to slot into the net after David Cornell had been at full stretch to tip Branger-Engone's free-kick onto the crossbar.
That breathed new life into the Latics and they had chances to reduce the arrears further, Branger-Engone and Christopher Missilou going close with long-range efforts before Alex Iacovitti failed to convert from a few yards out.
However, all hope of a dramatic fightback was extinguished with nine minutes to go when Cobblers killed off the contest thanks to fine breakaway goal. Morias, on just moments earlier, was the scorer - blasting home with his first touch - but the chance only came about thanks to the sterling work of fellow substitute Joe Powell.
The West Ham loanee held off two men and skipped by another before finding McWilliams, who in turn picked out Morias in the penalty box and he drilled inside Iversen's near post.
There was still time left for Williams to miss a chance at his hat-trick, denied one-one by Iversen, before the referee blew for full-time, signalling the end of Northampton's 2018/19 season.
Oldham: Iversen, Iacovitti, O'Grady (Afolayan 45), Missilou, Lang, Branger-Engone, Hunt, Maouche, Nepomuceno (Swaby-Neavin 65), Hamer (c), Sylla (Uche 45)
Subs not used: De La Paz, Taylor, Baxter, Benteke
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode, J Williams, Pierre (c), Turnbull, Foley, McWilliams (Elsnik 82), Pollock (J Powell 65), Hoskins, D Powell (Morias 79), A Williams
Subs not used: Coddington, Cox, Bowditch, Bridge
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Cobblers fans: 452