LEWIS JUST LOVES THE COBBLERS
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.”
STRIP: Plymouth’s Anthony O’Connor loses his shirt after giving the Pilgrims the lead
GRAPPLE: Ivan Toney (left) holds off Carl McHugh
STAR MAN ANTHO