Wilder lauds “immense spirit” as Cobblers dig deep to win ugly

Chris Wilder had his work cut out at half-time after a poor first half performance. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds
Chris Wilder had his work cut out at half-time after a poor first half performance. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder was pleased that his side showcased the ability to grind out a victory when not at their best after they fought back from a goal down to beat Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 despite an off-colour display.

Christian Doidge eventually gave the Daggers a deserved lead on 62 minutes after the home side had created a number of excellent opportunities, only to be denied by poor finishing and Cobblers keeper Adam Smith.

They took a while to get going but finally Northampton clicked into gear, aided by the introduction of Ricky Holmes and Marc Richards, as John-Joe O’Toole turned in Nicky Adams’ corner to equaliser.

That was then followed by a prolonged period of Cobblers pressure which culminated in a stunning goal from Holmes, who unleashed a 20-yard volley into the top corner, to rescue an unlikely victory.

Wilder said afterwards: “This is an unforgiving, relentless, ruthless league and there are 46 games.

“We’re not always going to play like we did at Plymouth or against Barnet and there will be times we were really have to dig in and we did that.

“It was a difficult game for us today with it being John Still’s first game at home. He’s brought in a few new players, they’ve won their last couple of games and the conditions weren’t great and I thought we were a bit fortunate to be level at half-time.

“But we upped our standards, we made a change and we kept the ball at the top of the pitch a lot better and I thought we dominated the second half.

“I thought we were really good second half and our best period of the game was when they scored.

“We knew that one ball, one pass could always cause us trouble which it did and fair play to them – they took their opportunity.

“But we were confident that if we upped our standards we would get something from the game and we have.”

Despite being on the back foot, Wilder felt his side were always in the game as O’Toole’s goal made it 21 successive league games in which Northampton have scored.

“We’ve got players who can score,” continued Wilder. “I thought the two centre-forwards were really good in the second half.

“They really built up a head of steam in the first half and the question was could they see that out for 90 minutes because if they played on the front foot, chased us down and didn’t give us much time.

“It was a difficult pitch to pas it on and our quality wasn’t to the standards that we set but we always know that the spirit of the side is absolutely immense.

“The second half performance was right up there in my eyes for a lot of reasons – for getting yourself out of a hole, showing desire and drive to go and win a game of football and we showed all our qualities after half-time.”