Pinnock at the double as superb Cobblers move into the top half in League One with dominant Fleetwood win

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Northampton Town 3 Fleetwood Town 0

Mitch Pinnock was at the double as Cobblers moved into the top half of League One with an impressive and dominant 3-0 victory over struggling Fleetwood Town at Sixfields on Saturday.

A saturated pitch and strong winds did not make for ideal conditions but Northampton were excellent throughout, particularly in the first half, as they coasted to their fourth victory in five league games. They are now as close to the play-offs as they are to the bottom four – 10 points.

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The hosts deservedly led by two goals at the break after Pinnock finished off a fine team move and Sam Hoskins scored from the spot for his 12th of the season. Fleetwood dominated possession in the second half but Town refused to buckle before Pinnock added some late gloss with a superb strike in stoppage-time.

Mitch Pinnock is congratulated by his team-mates after giving Cobblers the lead against Fleetwood. Picture: Pete NortonMitch Pinnock is congratulated by his team-mates after giving Cobblers the lead against Fleetwood. Picture: Pete Norton
Mitch Pinnock is congratulated by his team-mates after giving Cobblers the lead against Fleetwood. Picture: Pete Norton

That capped a fantastic win and performance and continues a remarkable turnaround. Cobblers were outside the drop zone on goal difference alone just a month ago but they now have a 10-point cushion and are only a point off the top 10.

Jon Brady opted for two changes as captain Jon Guthrie made his first league start in two months, replacing Jordan Willis at centre-back, and Akin Odimayo came in for the injured Aaron McGowan on the right side of defence.

Sam Hoskins was given an early sight of goal when he shot down the throat of Jay Lynch after pouncing on a loose pass, but Fleetwood had the game’s first big chance five minutes in with Max Thompson needing to be alert to claw away Jack Marriott’s close-range effort.

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Players on both sides were defying the sodden, blustery conditions at Sixfields to serve up a decent contest, and Cobblers enjoyed a good little spell around the 15-minute mark that saw Lynch use his body to block from Pinnock and Hoskins fire into the side-netting.

Town had settled into a rhythm and the breakthrough arrived on 26 minutes when they pierced the Fleetwood defence with a well-worked move. They kept the ball patiently and recycled possession before Marc Leonard spotted an opening with a piercing pass through to Pinnock in the box and he drilled low and hard into the bottom corner.

And just four further minutes had elapsed when the hosts won a penalty for a trip on Shaun McWilliams. Hoskins made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Lynch the wrong way for his 12th of the season.

Fleetwood were always a threat but Cobblers could have added a third before half-time when Kieron Bowie charged away on the break before teeing up Hoskins in the box, but he was denied by the legs of Lynch.

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An excellent block thwarted Bowie at the start of the second half before Thompsons quick reflexes at the other end prevented Fleetwood from getting one goal back.

Hoskins flashed a shot wide and Lynch was at full stretch to tip wide when McWilliams went for the far corner, and as long as it remained 2-0, Fleetwood were always in the game and they did have plenty of the ball in the second half.

But Cobblers worked hard and defended stubbornly to limit the visitors to few clear sights of their goal. Guthrie lasted 76 minutes on his return before being replaced by Willis, and the substitute nearly marked his arrival by scoring an own goal but Thompson reacted well to tip his header over the crossbar.

Fleetwood ran out of ideas in the closing stages and their misery was compounded in stoppage-time when Pinnock scored his second and Northampton’s third with a rasping finish from the edge of the penalty box.

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It could have been four with virtually the last kick of the game but Lynch pulled off a sensational save to keep out Hoskins.

Cobblers: Thompson, Odimayo, Sherring, Guthrie © (Willis 76), Brough, Sowerby, McWilliams, Leonard, Pinnock, Hoskins, Bowie (Appéré 76)

Subs not used: Dadge, Monthé, Haynes, Hondermarck, Simpson

Fleetwood: Lynch, Montgomery, Wiredu (Dolan 55), Heneghan (Johnston 61), Holgate, Patterson, Vela ©, Lawal, Mayor (Tshimanga 55), Broom, Marriott (Stockley 55)

Subs not used: Hayes, Teale, McMullan, Stockley

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 5,491

Fleetwood fans: 97