Hoskins and Williams complete fine comeback win for Cobblers at Salford
Cobblers won from a losing position for the first time this season when goals by Sam Hoskins and Andy Williams turned a 1-0 deficit into an excellent and important 2-1 victory over Salford City at Moor Lane on Saturday.
Cobblers were not at their fluent best for much of the afternoon but Hoskins' terrific first-half strike cancelled out Salford's opener before Town improved in the second period and Williams' goal ultimately proved the difference.
Salford had moved into a deserved lead through Jack Baldwin's header on 20 minutes but Cobblers hit back thanks to a bolt from the blue when Hoskins drilled into the bottom corner.
The visitors were more like themselves in the second-half and Williams' goal secured all three points, although they did have to ride their luck and defend well in a frantic finish to the game.
Williams and Hoskins are both up to eight goals in all competitions this season as Cobblers jump a place to eighth in Sky Bet League Two, just two points off third.
Cobblers were unchanged from their victory at Burton in the FA Cup and initially they picked up from where they left off at Moor Lane with Vadaine Oliver's overhead kick dropping just wide inside the first two minutes.
But that proved a false dawn for what would be a disappointing opening 45 minutes as Salford got a foothold before wrestling the upper-hand with a succession of free-kicks and corners.
And it was a set-piece that brought the game's opening goal when Craig Conway's inswinging corner was nodded home by Baldwin on 20 minutes.
Cobblers had to weather a Salford storm for the next 10 minutes but a rare foray into home territory brought them level on the half-hour mark.
It was a fine goal too, Nicky Adams pouncing on a loose ball and driving infield before weighting a pass perfectly for Hoskins to run onto and lazer a low strike into the bottom corner.
Town's equaliser came a little out of the blue but it did not put Salford off their stride and they were back on the attack with Brandon Thomas-Asante shooting wide and Sam Hughes heading off target on the stretch.
Thomas-Asante came much closer in first-half stoppage-time when his shot looked destined for the bottom corner but hit the inside of the post and bounced kindly for Town to clear.
Cobblers did more attacking in the first few moments of the second-half than they did for much of the first and two chances fell their way to take the lead as Oliver dragged into the side-netting and Andy Williams rounded Kyle Letheren but the angle was too tight.
Jake Jervis shot wide of the near post for Salford but Cobblers completed the turnaround just after the hour-mark with a sweeping counter-attack.
Cornell saved from Conway and quickly rolled the ball to Lines and he drove upfield before feeding Anderson whose cross was only cleared as far as Williams and he volleyed sweetly into the back of the net.
Thomas-Asante volleyed over and Ash Hunter made an impact from the bench for Salford as his cross was just about cleared by Wharton, who then put his body on the line to block from the same man.
There were times when Cobblers had to ride their luck but City struggled to create many clear chances and a fine reaction stop by Cornell at the death, keeping out Nathan Pond, preserved all three points.
Salford: Letheren, Wiseman (Pond 85), Touray, Armstrong (Rooney 69), Hughes, Burgess, Baldwin, Towell (c), Thomas-Asante, Conway (Hunter 69), Jervis
Subs not used: Neal, Hogan, Pond, Doyle, Lloyd
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode (c), Turnbull, Wharton, Lines, Watson, Anderson (Warburton 77), Adams (Harriman 86), Hoskins, Williams (Roberts 90), Oliver.
Subs not used: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Martin, Pollock
Referee: Ross Joyce
Cobblers fans: 1,066