O’TOOLE’S DOUBLE IS LUCKY 13
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.”
FEELING LEGGY: John-Joe O’Toole bags his second goal
JUMPING FOR JOY: John Marquis celebrates opener
STAR MAN RICKY HOLME