SEVEN HEAVEN FOR WILDER
SHREWSBURY’S unbeaten home record disappeared as Northampton maintained their excellent form of 2015 with a seventh win in nine games, leaving boss Chris Wilder to toast a job well done.
Only Chelsea had beaten the Shrews at the New Meadow this term but the Cobblers tamed them with a dominant performance which has enhanced their own hopes of being involved in the promotion picture this season.
Chris Hackett got the ball rolling for the visitors at Shrewsbury with an instinctive first-time shot from the edge of the box which beat Jayson Leutwiler all ends up.
The hosts had contributed almost nothing to the game but had sought to revitalise themselves with a half-time pep talk from Micky Mellon and a double substitution, only to see their opponents extend their lead with a copybook free-kick. Joel Byrom ran over the ball and then collected a pass from Ricky Holmes, who had feinted a shot, before rifling it home off the far post.
Shrewsbury only got into their stride in the final ten minutes, reducing the deficit through a Mickey Demetriou header but failing to produce the second goal that would have denied Northampton and what their manager Wilder felt was their best win of the season.
“I can’t disagree that it was our best result of the season, especially after losing the leading goalscorer in the division right before it,” he said.
“It was a deserved result. We had to defend for our lives in the last ten minutes and we overcame that.
“We knew we would have to produce a special performance in this game; Shrewsbury have got a fantastic record at home this season and it was always going to take a big performance.
“They are a very dangerous side to play. To go unbeaten up to this stage of the season is a great achievement but we backed ourselves with our big players.
“We had nothing to lose but we didn’t want to come here just to make the numbers up.
“We came out of the traps and dominated the first half, we perhaps should have scored more goals.”
Shrewsbury boss Mellon was stoic about the disappearance of his team’s proud home record and offered praise to Northampton for capitalising on their lacklustre display to ensure they left with all three points.
“You have to give Northampton credit, I always try to be honest and I thought they produced a very good performance,” he said.
“It took us too long to get going and we gave ourselves too much to do after conceding.
“We gave it a go late in the game but we didn’t take the chances that came our way and by then it was too late anyway.
“When you see three people standing on the ball at a free-kick you have to think something is going to happen and the players have to spot that.
“Because we were on our heels, we conceded right after half-time and after we made our changes and it was an uphill battle after that.”
MAN HUG: Northampton Town midfielder Chris Hackett and Lawson D’Ath celebrate