Jefferson Lake's Verdict: Cobblers defeated by Championship quality

The good news for Cobblers supporters is that their team won't have to play anyone as good as Sheffield Wednesday next season.

The Coca-Cola Championship side put in a performance of ruthless efficiency to defeat Town in their final Sixfields friendly.

The Northampton display offered few clues as to how they will fare against teams from their own division, although they were good in possession despite playing with little real width.

That issue may become more pressing for manager Stuart Gray – who will today be sweating on the fitness of Liam Davis, stretched off after half an hour of this contest.

Only four minutes in, Jermaine Johnson picked up the ball after a quick free-kick, made an unchallenged run across the pitch and lashed in a right-footed shot which beat Chris Dunn all ends up.

While there can be no complaints about the quality of the finish, Gray will have major concerns over just how easily the winger was allowed to drift inside in his team's final third.

The lead was doubled 20 minutes later when the Cobblers were left appealing for an offside flag which never came, and Francis Jeffers hammered a shot under Dunn.

Town had a chance to make an instant reply when Alex Dyer slid a path behind the Wednesday defence for both Liam Davis and Adebayo Akinfenwa to run onto, the later taking control but hitting his shot weakly at Lee Grant.

The home side's best move of the half was a good passage of passing which ended with Davis crossing for Billy McKay to glance a header just wide of the target.

Akinfenwa should have scored as the half drew to a close, planting a header over the bar from Danny Jackman's precise ball in.

It almost got worse for the Cobblers just five minutes into the second half.

James O'Connor got in behind Dyer and went down under contact from Dunn for a penalty which Jeffers stepped up to take.

If there were any doubts about Dunn's involvement in the build-up to the spot-kick, there were none in how he dealt with it, firmly blocking Jeffers' effort with Jackman mopping up the rebound.

The keeper's improvisation then nearly proved costly when he attempted to head a long ball on the edge of his own box.

Marcus Tudgay beat Dunn to the ball and got a shot away, but it was tame, and Craig Hinton was on hand to pick up the pieces.

Michael Jacobs was only given 10 minutes but still made something of an impression, drawing a good save from Grant with a shot on the angle.

COBBLERS: Dunn, Hinton, Beckwith, McCready, Jackman, Guttridge (Mulligan 64), Osman (Gilligan 73), Dyer (Curtis 64), Davis (Holt 30), Akinfenwa (Jacobs 78), McKay. Subs not used: Rodgers, Walker, Benjamin

SHEFF WEDS: Grant, Simek, Hinds, Beevers (Wood 62), Buxton (Spurr 46), Johnson, O'Connor, Boden, Gray (Esayas 62), Jeffers (Oliver 80), Sodje (Tudgay 62). Subs not used: Harrison, O'Donnell

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