Hoskins and Turnbull on target as Cobblers get back to winning ways with Salford victory
Goals from Sam Hoskins and Jordan Turnbull saw Cobblers return to winning ways with a hard-fought but well-deserved 2-0 victory over Salford City at the PTS Stadium on Saturday.
Hoskins' well-taken penalty was the difference in a stodgy and disjointed first-half before Turnbull's second made sure as Salford struggled to lay a glove on their hosts throughout the 90 minutes.
It was not the prettiest of victories and Town did not always convince on their way to three points but the result was all that mattered to Keith Curle after four games without a win.
The Cobblers are back above Salford and up to 15th in League Two, within three points of the play-offs.
Curle responded to his side's humbling defeat at Scunthorpe by making five changes to his team, including recalls for Billy Waters and top scorer Andy Williams in attack.
Alan McCormack made just his second start of the season and Michael Harriman and Chris Lines also returned, while new signing Paul Anderson was on the bench.
Cobblers started well and there was a flurry of activity around the edge of Salford's box in the early stages as Hoskins went close with two shots from the edge while Lines' header was routine for visiting stopper Kyle Letheren.
The hosts couldn't make their strong start count with a goal though, and Salford grew in confidence with captain Adam Rooney forcing David Cornell into a good low save.
Rooney drew a far more comfortable stop from Cornell a few minutes later before the opening goal came at the other end 11 minutes prior to the break.
Cameron Burgess dangled out a leg in the box and Charlie Goode gratefully accepted the invitation to go to ground as referee Lee Swabey pointed to the spot for a penalty, which was precisely drilled into the bottom corner by Hoskins.
The rest of the first-half petered out before Salford threatened at the start of the second, Ibou Toray's cross flashing across the face of goal and Rooney's heading dropping just wide of the far post.
But again Cobblers hit their visitors with the sucker-punch, moving into a two-goal lead midway through the half when a deep free-kick found Williams and he headed back across goal for Turnbull to squeeze a shot through the unlucky Letheren.
Williams put too much on his lob when trying to make it 3-0 just 90 seconds later and Nicky Adams' terrific free-kick brought an athletic save from Letheren.
That was Adams' last act as he was then replaced by Anderson, who was on for his second Cobblers debut, and bar a strong penalty appeal against Goode, the home side were rarely troubled in seeing out victory - despite seven minutes of stoppage-time.
Cobblers: Cornell, Harriman, Goode (c), Wharton, Turnbull, McCormack (Pollock 56), Lines, Adams (Anderson 82), Hoskins, Waters (McWilliams 87), Williams
Subs not used: Fisher, Hall-Johnson, Oliver, Smith
Salford: Letheren, Wiseman, Touray, Armstrong, Maynard, Burgess, Pond, Jones (Lloyd 71), Jervis, Conway (Whitehead 81), Rooney (c) (Dieseruvwe 71)
Subs not used: Threlkeld, Hughes, Evans, Doyle
Referee: Lee Swabey
Salford fans: 151