Relief for 'very happy' Hasselbaink as Cobblers claim priceless win

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink cut a relieved figure after his side recovered from a poor first-half performance to deservedly beat Southend United 3-1 on Saturday and register three important points.

Saturday, 6th January 2018, 5:17 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th January 2018, 5:28 pm
RELIEF: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink knew the importance of getting three points against Southend on Saturday. Picture: Sharon Lucey

Given Southend's wretched form ahead of this game - six defeats from seven - and the fact they were missing three key players, it was vital that Northampton came away with victory to preserve their precarious hopes of avoiding relegation from Sky Bet League One this season.

Initially, it didn't look as if they were going to achieve that after a lacklustre and disjointed display in the opening period as John-Joe O'Toole saw his comical opener cancelled out by Jason Demetriou, who scored from the spot after referee Michael Salisbury had penalised Ash Taylor for a foul on Stephen McLaughlin.

However, it was all change after the break and Matt Grimes restored their lead with his own spot-kick, slamming in from 12 yards after a foul on Chris Long, before Alex Revell capped off a fine victory with a well-taken third goal in the final minute of normal time.

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The Cobblers had several chances to score in-between those goals but three was more than enough to clinch the spoils and just their second win in 10 league outings, bringing them to within two points of safety.

Hasselbaink said afterwards: "In the first-half, at times, we huffed and puffed a little bit and couldn't get into the game. We played way too many long balls and too many high balls.

"I felt that we were under pressure too much. It looked like they were playing the occasion instead of the game and they felt the importance of it.

"But I think we were the opposite in the second-half. We passed the ball more and we were more in control and we could have scored two or three more goals.

"We were on the front foot, we took down all the long balls and we tried to create things. There was a different Chris Long after half-time because he led the line well and that was really important.

"In the first-half, he didn't do enough, but in the second-half he led the line from the front and he's got a wicked shot on him. I'm very happy with the win."