Joy of six as Pirates pulverise Cobblers
BRISTOL Rovers may have smashed six goals for their biggest league win in 20 years but Darrell Clarke urged caution after tearing apart Northampton.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s mountainous task was highlighted as the Cobblers were ripped to shreds by a side totally committed to attacking football.
A five-goal secondhalf blitz came after goalkeeper Matt Ingram kept the hosts in the hunt with a series of first-half saves, including Tom Nichols’ penalty, and Clarke admits the win was for the Pirates faithful.
He said: “That was a great win, everything went right.
“That’s for the fans who have followed us up and down the country. I also told the players to win it for Nico (Tom Nichols) to ensure his missed penalty didn’t cost us.
“It’s a good day to be a manager and be a footballer, but we won’t get carried away.”
For Hasselbaink, a straight red card for striker Alex Revell in the 69th minute compounded his misery.
He said: “I’m shocked. I didn’t see this coming. It was a very bad performance – and not just in the second half.
“We gave too many chances away and were just not good enough.
“I am really sorry for the fans because we are a lot better than this.
“We are coming out of a very difficult month and must work really hard.”
Rovers’ biggest league win for two decades was all about Clarke’s desire to go for the jugular.
They should have been comfortably ahead before ex-Cobbler Billy Bodin pulled a hamstring slotting Rovers into a 38th-minute lead.
Ingram then saved a poorly-hit spot-kick by substitute Nichols, awarded after a Revell foul, to give Northampton a semblance of hope.
That was quickly snuffed out as Ellis Harrison struck twice inside five minutes, a firm closerange header and a rasping angled shot. Revell got his marching orders after an aerial challenge with Rovers defender Tom Broadbent and Northampton then subsided in the face of a continual onslaught.
Rory Gaffney snaffled his deserved reward after Nichols hit a post before the superb Liam Sercombe saw his volley beat Ingram via the bar.
Substitute Dominic Telford completed the rout as Northampton slipped to their heaviest ever defeat at Sixfields.
The Cobblers have now gone just shy of 500 minutes without a league goal.
STAR MAN LIAM SERCOMBE Bristol Rovers