The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Jefferson Lake

PLY­MOUTH made need­less hardwork of a win­ning sit­u­a­tion against Northamp­ton, prompt­ing Pil­grims as­sis­tant boss Paul Wot­ton to hail the home side’s fight­ing spirit.

After burst­ing into a three-goal lead through ef­forts from Peter Hart­ley, Andy Kel­lett and Lewis Alessandra, it looked like the contest was over as early as the 63rd minute.

In fact, some home sup­port­ers opted to leave at that point, a decision which looked like be­ing a bad one when goals from Ivan Toney and Ste­wart Mur­doch ig­nited a Northamp­ton come­back.

But it ul­ti­mately fell short and Ply­mouth col­lected three points which main­tain their pur­suit of League Two pro­mo­tion.

And Pil­grims as­sis­tant man­ager Wot­ton praised the home side for their late ef­forts, say­ing: “At 3-0 you should never be think­ing it’s game over and fair play to Northamp­ton, they made a game of it.

“In­jury time was a bit of a strug­gle and it’s a con­cen­tra­tion thing but the bot­tom line is we’ve won away from home and it’s a good three points for us.”

Hart­ley headed in a Bobby Reid cor­ner after just four min­utes and Kel­lett made it two with a jink­ing run which left sev­eral de­fend­ers in his wake be­fore Alessandra added a third.

It was, ac­cord­ing to Wot­ton, a dream start for the vis­it­ing team.

“It was great for us with Peter’s header and Andy Kel­lett’s goal will be one of the goals of the sea­son,” he said. “We thought we could play bet­ter at half-time, we wanted them to keep mov­ing the ball and play sim­ple and we knew that a clean­sheet would win us the game.

“It was a good job Lewis scored the third one and we knew we’d be up against a big strong Northamp­ton team in this game.

“We had to see a lot of crosses and long throws out and we dealt with them very well.

“You can’t al­ways keep clean­sheets and we’ve got the win in the end and it’s three valu­able points for us.”

Northamp­ton boss Chris Wilder was fu­ri­ous with the way his team per­formed and said he was the most angry he has ever been as a man­ager in the game’s first ten min­utes.

“Its a real dis­ap­point­ing day for us and the last few min­utes have pa­pered over the cracks. There are some play- ers here who need to be moved on when their con­tracts ex­pire,” he said.

“We wanted to get off to a pos­i­tive start and get on the front foot. I se­lected an at­tack­ing side I might as well have said to the play­ers go and start the game at 1-0 down.

“The first goal is a free header from a de­fender and my play­ers didn’t take re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We prac­tice de­fend­ing set-pieces in train­ing but some play­ers haven’t got the men­tal strength to do the job on a Satur­day.

“I've never been more fu­ri­ous about an open­ing pe­riod of a game than I was here.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

HEAD FIRST: Ply­mouth's Peter Hart­ley scores to give the vis­i­tors a 1-0 lead

HIGH FIVE: Ply­mouth's Lewis Alessandra cel­e­brates



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