Cobblers’ Wilder is drained but safe
IT MIGHT have all ended positively for Northampton but after dipping in and out of the relegation zone on the final day boss Chris Wilder admitted it had all taken its toll on him.
Ryan Williams gave the visitors, whom Wilder left to become manager at Sixfields in January, a lead after only six minutes.
Meanwhile, Wycombe went ahead at Torquay to ensure some frayed nerves at a packed ground, where the biggest crowd for 16 years was registered for the vital game.
But Williams was controversially sent off for kicking Ricky Ravenhill, giving the Cobblers a momentum in the game and one which they took full advantage of.
Teenage sensation Ivan Toney flicked a cross into the path of John Marquis who finished well from 15 yards.
Toney himself then glanced in a header, with keeper Ryan Clarke in no man’s land, to put the home side 2-1 up and defender Mathias Doumbe confirmed the win with a firm header early in the second half.
It brings down the curtain on a campaign which has been poor for Northampton and in which they were at one stage six points adrift of safety – although Wilder was only focusing on the final safe outcome.
“I’m drained but I’m elated that we’ve stayed up,” he said.“I had a quick chat with the players and it’s strange because this is the last time you’re all together so I thanked them for all their efforts.
“I’ve never wavered in my belief that these were a group of League players but we’ve had to work extra hard to get the results.
“We’ve been one of the form teams over the past few months and people were saying we were dead and buried so the players deserve an enormous amount of credit.
“We can’t be in this position again. Everyone will have a reason why it’s happened but the season started for me when we walked in the door.
“Nobody is jumping through hoops and saying we’ve had a fantastic season because we haven’t, but we’ve done the job that we were brought in to do.”
Oxford now begin the process of rebuilding under manager Gary Waddock, who replaced Wilder at the Kassam Stadium a month ago.
“That 90 minutes probably summed Oxford’s season,” he said.“We were very good for parts of the game but then faded away.
“The red card was the turning point. It was a delayed reaction from Ryan but you can’t act like he did and get away with it.”
STAR MAN IVAN TONEY Northa