Joy of six as Pirates pul­verise Cob­blers

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John Brind­ley

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

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