Williams and Hoskins on target as confident Cobblers sweep aside in-form Newport County
Cobblers ended Newport County's unbeaten start to the season with a professional and accomplished 2-0 victory at the PTS Stadium on Saturday.
For the second home game running Town looked a class above a team who sat second in the league ahead of kick-off as they bounced back from the defeat at Bradford City with a polished, albeit at times hard-fought, three points.
Andy Williams' fourth goal of the season was the difference at half-time and victory was sealed by Sam Hoskins' easy tap-in with 18 minutes remaining.
Despite playing a team who hadn't lost any of their seven league games so far this season, Town goalkeeper David Cornell didn't have a single save to make in the whole game, which was testament to the home side's excellent defending.
Keith Curle made one change in personnel as Scott Wharton replaced Matty Warburton, which meant Jordan Turnbull moved into central midfield.
Newport hadn't conceded a single league goal since the opening day of the season but it took their hosts just five minutes to hit the front.
Turnbull's shot from range was blocked by a defender and the ball fell kindly for Williams, whose low effort beat the dive of Tom King and was inadvertently sliced into the net by Exiles defender Mark O'Brien.
Apart from having Joss Labadie's header ruled out for offside just prior to Town's goal, second-placed Newport were on the back foot for large parts of the opening half-hour and the home side almost had a second when Hoskins flicked a header into the gloves of King.
Town's grip on the game loosened as half-time approached though and Newport grew in confidence, with Labadie heading their best chance over the crossbar.
Cobblers, protecting a narrow advantage at the break, were in a similar position at Bradford last week and again they made a cautious start to the second-half, allowing Newport plenty of the ball while hoping to cause problems on the counter-attack.
An injury to Shaun McWilliams saw a Cobblers debut for Egli Kaja and the hosts were close to a second when O'Brien deflected Nicky Adams' cross just wide of the woodwork.
Town were doing a good job of holding Newport at arm's length, and they gave themselves breathing space with 18 minutes to go through a well-worked breakaway goal.
Charlie Goode showed smart awareness to chest the ball down and drive forward before slipping it to Chris Lines who squared for Hoskins and it was a simple tap-in.
Kaja, found by Adams, dragged a shot wide from another counter-attack before substitute Warburton did likewise as time ticked away.
Newport's day went from bad to worse late on when Jamille Matt, only on as a sub earlier in the second-half, picked up two yellow cards in the space of five minutes and was sent for an early bath.
Six added minutes might have for a nervy finish but Town were not going to make hard work of this one and the full-time whistle duly confirmed three well-earned points.
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode, Wharton, Turnbull, Harriman, Martin, McWilliams (Kaja 53), Lines, Hoskins, Adams (Warburton 87), Williams (Smith 78)
Subs not used: Fisher, Pollock, Waters, Oliver
Newport: King, Haynes, Labadie (c), O'Brien, Howkins, Willmott, Dolan (Whitely 62), Sheehan, McNamara (Poleon 75), Abrahams, Amond (Matt 62)
Subs not used: Leadbitter, Bennett, Maloney, Townsend
Referee: Alan Young
Newport fans: 289