PROTESTS FAIL TO HALT TOWN
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.”
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