The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matthew Hill

NORTHAMP­TON TOWN con­tin­ued their em­phatic charge to the League Two ti­tle as they swept aside Carlisle with a blis­ter­ing per­for­mance at Brun­ton Park.

The Cum­bri­ans hadn’t tasted de­feat at their home ground since Oc­to­ber, but goals from John Mar­quis and James Collins ei­ther side of a John-Joe O’Toole dou­ble ren­dered Hal­lam Hope’s vol­ley as mere con­so­la­tion, and sent Chris Wilder’s men 13 points clear at the League Two sum­mit.

And the Cob­blers were even treated to ap­plause from some sec­tions of the home sup­port, which boss Wilder was quick to ac­knowl­edge af­ter the vic­tory:

“That’s hap­pened a few times re­cently, and it’s very nice to be clapped off by any op­po­si­tion fans,” Wilder ad­mit­ted. “When you’ve seen your team beaten it’s easy to be a bit bit­ter, so it was nice to see the Carlisle fans ap­pre­ci­ate what a great run we are on, and very de­cent of them.

“At times it wasn’t what we are re­ally about in terms of play­ing style, but we ran out pretty com­fort­able win­ners in the end.

“Any away win is hard earned and we’re happy with it.

“We have to keep our heads down, ig­nore what the press are say­ing, and keep work­ing ex­tremely hard to get over the line.”

The Cob­blers were soon ahead af­ter Lee Martin did bril­liantly to ghost in­side from the left wing and cross for Mar­quis, who nod­ded in his se­cond goal of his loan spell from Mill- wall. From that point on the lead­ers be­gan to as­sert them­selves and dou­bled their lead when David Buchanan’s low drive was de­flected into the bot­tom cor­ner by O’Toole.

Early in the se­cond half, Carlisle re­duced ar­rears when for­ward Jabo Ibehre broke down the right and laid a fan­tas­tic cross on for sub­sti­tute Hope, who smashed in with his first touch.

Re­newed home be­lief was short­lived, how­ever, when a low Ricky Holmes cross was poked in by O’Toole for his se­cond.

And Wilder’s men added a fourth when the in­stru­men­tal Holmes sliced Carlisle open again, feed­ing Collins to smash home from a tight an­gle and round off an­other em­phatic vic­tory.

Carlisle boss Curle made lit­tle ef­fort to hide his dis­ap­point­ment with his side, say­ing: “The goals were re­ally soft from our per­spec­tive.

“They have good play­ers, good move­ment – but we didn’t make them work for any­thing which is dis­ap­point­ing.

“We had chances but the bounce of the ball didn’t re­ally fall for us.

“De­flec­tions at key mo­ments, clear­ances that have landed in key ar­eas – the lit­tle things went their way.

“Ul­ti­mately there’s no shame in get­ting turned over by the run­away lead­ers, and re­sults around us have gone in our favour.

“So the chal­lenge for us now is to dust our­selves down and go again on Tues­day and keep work­ing.”

PIC­TURES: Craig McAl­lis­ter/Pro Sport

FEEL­ING LEGGY: John-Joe O’Toole bags his se­cond goal

JUMP­ING FOR JOY: John Mar­quis cel­e­brates opener


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