The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Liam Coleman

CHRIS Wilder found the per­fect an­swer to a tu­mul­tuous week at Northamp­ton by guid­ing the Cob­blers to vic­tory against his for­mer side.

The clash with Ox­ford looked to be over­shad­owed by a sup­porter protest, ques­tion­ing the club’s hi­er­ar­chy over their run­ning of Northamp­ton.

Cob­blers fans ques­tion­ing the un­fin­ished build­ing of a new stand rose to their feet on 12 min­utes and held up ques­tion mark signs, di­rected at chair­man David Car­doza.

How­ever, the harsh at­mos­phere melted away some­what when Sam Hoskins fired them ahead nine min­utes later.

Jason Tay­lor saw red for the hosts shortly be­fore the break but Adam Smith saved Danny Hyl­ton’s penalty and they held firm to pre­serve the point.

“This was the per­fect re­sult,” said Wilder. “That’s what it’s all about. “I’ve never been crit­i­cal about our sup­port.

“Some­times the play­ers need the fans to get them up for it, and some­times the play­ers need to get them­selves up to ex­cite the fans.

“We’re to­gether as a club and I thought that the protest was done im­pec­ca­bly. The sup­port­ers got the mes­sage across just the way that they wanted to.

“As a club it’s been a bit of a mad week but ev­ery­one has gone about it in the right way. Our play­ers re­acted ex­actly the way that we wanted them too and were out­stand­ing.

“The fans re­acted bril­liantly and the club came to­gether as one.”

Ox­ford were de­nied an early goal when Smith spread him­self well to pre­vent Cal­lum O’Dowda.

Chants of ‘we want an­swers’ echoed around Six­fields in the 12th minute but the U’s were sent a warn­ing sign soon af­ter when Marc Richards had the ball in the back of the net, only for his headed goal to be dis­al­lowed for a foul on Jake Wright.

Northamp­ton broke the dead­lock af­ter 23 min­utes, when Hoskins deftly headed his first league goal of the sea­son past Sam Slo­combe af­ter a fan­tas­tic whipped cross from Nicky Adams.

Northamp­ton were re­duced to ten men on 43 min­utes when Tay­lor was given a straight red card for rais­ing his arm to O’Dowda in the Northamp­ton area.

But Smith was the hero, get­ting down well to his right to save the re­sult­ing penalty from Hyl­ton.

Richards saw a late header saved and Ox­ford ran out of time to grab a lev­eller, leav­ing man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton con­sid­er­ing a re-think of his penalty-taker.

“He’s a good goal­keeper,” said Ap­ple­ton, when asked about Smith. “He did well, made him­self big and got down well, but Danny def­i­nitely won’t be tak­ing them again.

“We had the op­por­tu­nity with the penalty to get back in the game, and if that goes in then it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent game and we’re not hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion right now. “But they are the small mar­gins in football and for 14 games we’ve been very good.”

PIC­TURES: Media Im­age

DE­NIED: Northamp­ton Town’s Adam Smith saves a Danny Hyl­ton penalty STAR MAN ADAM SMITH Northa

mpton ALL SMILES: Northamp­ton Town’s Sam Hoskins scores

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