Kioso at the double as Cobblers beat Ipswich to keep survival hopes aiive
Peter Kioso scored twice as Cobblers kept their slim survival hopes alive with an impressive 3-0 victory over play-off chasing Ipswich Town on Tuesday night.
Town's fifth win in their last seven home games came courtesy of a strong attacking performance in the first-half before they dug in to frustrate their esteemed visitors in the second.
They had to weather a good start by Ipswich but went on to enjoy an excellent and dominant opening 45 minutes, taking a well-deserved two-goal led into the break thanks to a brace from the returning Kioso.
The hosts could easily have had more given the amount of chances they created, but Ipswich gifted Ryan Watson his ninth of the season late in the second-half to confirm victory.
It was a hugely important win for the Cobblers and keeps them alive in the race to beat relegation, although results elsewhere were not kind as Swindon, Rochdale, Wimbledon and Wigan also all won.
Town remain four points from safety with three games to play.
Caleb Chukwuemeka was handed just his second league start of the season as he led the line alongside Alex Jones, while Kioso returned at right-back and Mickel Miller was on the bench.
Ipswich almost had a dream start when Gwion Edwards cracked the post with a shot from 25 yards inside five minutes, but Paul Cook's men would be on the back foot for the remainder of the opening period.
Instead, it was the Cobblers who, with their first real attack of the game, struck first.
On eight minutes, Joseph Mills delivered a pinpoint inswinging corner and Kioso rushed in unmarked to poke home for his second goal for the club.
Ipswich looked lively in attack and Town needed Lloyd Jones to make a couple of important interventions at the back, but the home side were close to a second themselves when Sam Hoskins found Chukwuemeka and he was denied by a fine defensive block.
However, Cobblers were the better side for much of the first-half, going close again through Watson, who was kept out by Thomas Holy, before Mark McGuinness cleared off the line from Mills.
Eventually a second goal arrived and it was a carbon copy of the first as Mills' right-wing corner was nodded into the net by Kioso.
Mills nearly had his third assist of the night as Jones glanced just wide before Ipswich came close to pulling one back at the end of the half as Freddie Sears' header hit the crossbar.
Ipswich came out all guns blazing in the second-half and really should have halved the deficit within minutes of the restart, but Kane Vincent-Young, with the goal at his mercy, shot straight at Jonathan Mitchell.
Mitchell was also quick off his line to stop Sears getting in on goal before substitute Ollie Hawkins headed narrowly wide as Ipswich dominated possession in their quest for a goal back.
But Cobblers defended well and then wrapped up the points late on courtesy of a howler in the Ipswich defence.
Goalkeeper Holy, caught way off his line, cleared straight to Watson and Town's midfielder kept his composure to score from distance and cap off a fine performance by the men in claret.
Cobblers: Mitchell, Kioso (Harriman 83), Horsfall, L Jones, Mills (c), McWilliams, Morris, Watson, Hoskins, Chukwuemeka (Marshall 55), A Jones (Rose 82)
Subs not used: Woods, Bolger, Miller, Korboa
Ipswich: Holy, McGuinness, Ward (c), Woolfenden, Bennetts (Dobra 57), Sears (Hawkins 67), Downes, Dozzell, Vincent-Young Edwards, Jackson (Drinan 67)
Subs not used: Cornell, Chambers, Skuse, Kenlock
Referee: James Bell