Cobblers back on the right Page now
NORTHAMPTON had few difficulties as they brushed aside Southend with the minimum of fuss, ensuring no hangover from the midweek EFL Cup defeat to Manchester United.
All four goals came in a second-half blitz, in which Southend’s Jason Demetriou was also sent off.
Cobblers boss Rob Page said: “The Manchester United game, for us, was a bonus.
“We knew we had to do the dogged side of the game, the not so nice side of the game and we had to put our tin hats on in the first half.
“We knew that once we had the wind in the second half we could play a bit more and thankfully we did and took our opportunities.”
By contrast, his Southend counterpart Phil Brown was left fuming at the events of the second half.
He said: “The referee has given a free-kick in the first minute of the second half and it’s ended up in the back of the net.
“The second goal, I thought the rule had changed. If you’re denying a goal-scoring opportunity in the penalty box a penalty and a yellow card was enough. He’s given a red card and it’s game over in effect.
“From a battling performance in the first half where we should’ve gone 1-0 up, to losing 4-0, I didn’t see it coming.
“In the first five minutes the game changed because of two poor decisions.”
The first 45 minutes provided fare of an instantly forgettable nature with both sides squandering possession on a regular basis.
Time and again a bit of space was created only for the final pass to go astray and as such chances were scarce.
Sam Hoskins and Matt Taylor tried their luck from distance for the hosts, the latter forcing Mark Oxley into a sharp stop, and at the other end Jermaine McGlashan, having cut in neatly from the left, shot weakly at Adam Smith.
But a minute after the break, Northampton went in front. Jak McCourt’s effort from 20 yards was sloppily dealt with by Oxley and John-Joe O’Toole was on hand to convert the rebound.
Two minutes later the game was as good as over when Demetriou brought down Paul Anderson, receiving a red card for his troubles, and allowed Alex Revell to double the lead from the penalty spot.
Taylor made it three on the hour with a sumptuous free-kick from wide on the right and Paul Anderson added a fourth with a low drive 13 minutes from time.