The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

LEWIS Alessan­dra must wish he could face Northamp­ton ev­ery week as the striker got Ply­mouth’s play-off bid back on track with a fourth goal in four games against the Cob­blers.

The 26-year-old hit­man landed the knock­out blow in the 86th minute with a cool fin­ish for his 12th goal of the sea­son.

An­thony O’Con­nor put the hosts in front with his first pro­fes­sional goal as Ply­mouth climbed back into the top seven.

Pil­grims manager John Sheri­dan said:“This is a big win for us.We knew it would be hard to break Northamp­ton down be­cause of the run they have been on.

“I would have liked to af­fect the game a lit­tle bit more.We had the one­goal lead, and I felt if we were a lit­tle bit braver on the ball, we could have caused them more prob­lems in the sec­ond half.

“But it was a solid per­for­mance and we are go­ing to need a few of them be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.

“I’ve said it be­fore and I will prob­a­bly say it again, the most im­por­tant thing is the three points.

“You don’t know who is go­ing to beat who in this league, and we need to keep up the pres­sure.”

Alessan­dra wasted a glo­ri­ous chance to score in the 27th minute when he lifted the ball straight into the arms of Matt Duke af­ter he in­ter­cepted Ja­son Tay­lor’s mis­cued header.

But the Pil­grims were re­warded when O’Con­nor col­lected Bobby Reid’s pass and bent a crisp strike into the bot­tom cor­ner.

The Cob­blers pressed for an equaliser af­ter the break and Evan Hor­wood’s free-kick flashed inches over the bar be­fore Billy Bodin’s strike de­flected off O’Con­nor and flew over.

But Alessan­dra put the fin­ish­ing touches to a rapid break­away to seal the out­come.

Drew Tal­bot picked out the striker and he coolly cut in­side Ryan Cress­well and Duke be­fore rolling the ball into an empty net.

Northamp­ton’s first de­feat in five games leaves them five points out­side the play­off places.

But manager Chris Wilder has backed his play­ers to bounce back from only their sec­ond de­feat in 12 games.

He said:“We were knock­ing on the door in the sec­ond half but they have coun­tered on us and it killed it.

“We de­served to get some­thing out of the game but it was not to be.

“The spirit in our camp is out­stand­ing and the play­ers are hurt­ing at the mo­ment. But there is still one hell of a lot to play for.

“Ply­mouth have had to scrap to get over the fin­ish­ing line and we need to take this on the chin and go again next time.

“We took a cou­ple of hits be­fore the game with Marc Richards and Chris Hack­ett, two of our most se­nior play­ers, not be­ing able to travel.That hurt us but the sup­port­ers will have seen there is plenty of fight left in us.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

STRIP: Ply­mouth’s An­thony O’Con­nor loses his shirt af­ter giv­ing the Pil­grims the lead

GRAP­PLE: Ivan Toney (left) holds off Carl McHugh



OR Ply­mou


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