All the talk prior to the trip to Morecambe was of the Cobblers not wasting the good work of the win the previous over Oxford United... of getting on a long, unbeaten run.
On paper, that was never going to be easy. Prior to Saturday’s encounter, Morecambe had won four games on the spin, and were fifth in the Sky Bet League Two table.
But, as we all know, football’s not played on paper, and on the grass of the Globe Arena it proved to be pretty easy for the Cobblers - a tricky opening spell aside.
Morecambe started well, and could have taken the lead through Kevin Ellison, but Adam Smith made an excellent save high to his left from the veteran striker’s close-range right-foot volley, and from the 25-minute mark on, this match was all about the Cobblers.
In all honesty, the 4-2 scoreline flatters the Shrimps.
It’s still a pretty emphatic win for Chris Wilder’s men, but it is no exaggeration to say the Cobblers could, and probably should, have won this by an even bigger margin.
At times the Cobblers were toying with their hosts like a cat toys with a stricken mouse, and after Joel Byrom had put them 3-0 ahead early in the second half the Cobblers enjoyed a spell in which they should have added two or three more goals to put the game beyond doubt.
As it was, a couple of pieces of sloppy defending allowed Morecambe to get on the board, but the result of the match was never in doubt.
Once they found their feet and got their attacking game together, the Cobblers were simply too hot for Morecambe to handle.
They had pace. movement, skill and creativity in the final third, they were lightning on the break, and the man at the centre of nearly all things good about the Cobblers’ attacking play was Nicky Adams.
The former Bury man was exceptional.
He plays off both feet so can pop up all over the pitch, left or right flank, and is a defender’s nightmare as he can go either way, and whip in a cross.
He can also pick up the ball centrally and has the vision to feed in a team-mate with a tasty pass, as he did for Alfie Potter in the build up to the Cobblers’ fourth goal. He is a proper player, and a real attacking livewire.
Adams had a hand in all of the Cobblers’ goals, and on another day could have scored himself, and if you want to be picky about the Town performance on Saturday, it’s that they didn’t win more easily.
But that is nit-picking.
As Wilder said afterwards, this was an outstanding day to savour, and with two wins on the spin, the Cobblers now have something to build on.
The team is not perfect, and is still a work in progress.
The defence is undoubtedly stronger than it was a few weeks ago, but is still susceptible to lapses that lead to goals, while there is still a question mark over the team’s ‘plan B’ if their attacking quartet don’t function.
But when the Cobblers’ very own ‘fab four’ do click, as they did on Saturday, they are irresistible to watch, and a nightmare to play against.
And let’s not forget, this result was achieved without skipper Marc Richards leading the line, the striker missing out due to a slight side strain.
His replacement, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, was a more than able deputy, and led the line superbly.
The Sheffield United loanee’s performance gives manager Wilder a nice headache ahead of next weekend’s Sixfields date with leaders Leyton Orient...
Adam Smith - crucial and impressive save from Kevin Ellison with the score at 0-0, and made other good blocks. Distribution was patchy at times - 7
Darnell Furlong - didn’t need to get too involved in the attacking third, but was so strong in defence. Very impressive from the teenager - 7
Ryan Cresswell - a couple of early moments where Ellison got in behind him aside, the big central defender was a commanding figure, and made crucial goalline block just before the break - 7
Shaun Brisley - has made such a difference to the Cobblers defensively. Is no nonsense, strong, and adds strength and security. He and Cresswell look really comfortable as a partnership. - 7
Dave Buchanan - nobody works harder or shows more commitment than the Town left-back, and he even popped up with an assist (even if it was fortunate!) for Sam Hoskins’ goal - 7
Ryan Watson - was a little rushed in his play early on, but settled into the game. Wasn’t at his best, but still played his part in an emphatic victory - 7
Joel Byrom - Is there a better left foot in Sky Bet League Two? Byrom’s set-piece delivery was exceptional throughout, and Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche will be having nightmares about the third Town goal, allowing Byrom’s inswinging cross to creep into the bottom corner. Was unlucky to score late own goal - 7
Lawson D’Ath - was much more like his old self from last season, and scored an excellent goal, reading Adams’s cross and meeting it perfectly with a right-foot volley - 7.5
Nicky Adams - a fantastic performance. Has been threatening all season to run a game from start to finish, and he did it on Saturday. Involved in everything going forward, and got stuck into a few meaty challenges as well - 8.5 STAR MAN
Sam Hoskins - It’s two goals in two games for the diminutive attacker, who was a real livewire throughout. Key cog in Town’s fluent counter-attacking game - 7.5
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - had the unenviable task of replacing Marc Richards, and did it with style. Was always available as a target, linked play well, and caused the home defence plenty of problems. The only negative is he should have scored long before his audacious little backheel that made it 4-1 - 8
Alfie Potter (for Hoskins, 63 mins) - laid on the goal for Calvert-Lewin, and could easily have scored himself. Was very bright after coming on - 7
John-Joe O’Toole (for D’Ath, 90 mins)
Not used; Clarke, Richards, Lelan, Corry, Hackett