Joy of six as Jimmy’s boys start climb­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By James Roberts

THE pro­fes­sion­al­ism and char­ac­ter of his play­ers won the day, ac­cord­ing to Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink, af­ter Northamp­ton stretched their un­beaten run to six games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Ash Tay­lor opened the scor­ing af­ter Ox­ford failed to clear a cor­ner be­fore Wes Thomas and Chris Long traded goals on the stroke of half­time.

The vic­tory saw the Cob­blers rise out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone and Has­sel­baink was im­pressed with his side’s game man­age­ment.

He said: “I’m very proud of my play­ers; how we played and how we showed a lot of char­ac­ter, a lot of be­lief.

“It is not easy com­ing here. Not a lot of teams will come here and beat them.

“At spells, they had the ball and ma­nip­u­lated the spa­ces, and they are very good at that, but we were very ma­ture.

“I think we could have scored more goals be­cause we are creat­ing chances.

“You can’t sin­gle out one per­son. It was a really good team per­for­mance.”

Cen­tre-back Tay­lor made the dif­fer­ence at both ends early on, deny­ing James Henry with a bril­liant cov­er­ing tackle be­fore his close-range ef­fort squirmed past Si­mon East­wood.

The visi­tors could have added more goals, with John Joe O’Toole flash­ing a header wide and East­wood sav­ing from the im­pres­sive Lewis McGu­gan.

The out­look looked grim for United when cap­tain Cur­tis Nel­son was stretchered off but sec­onds later, Henry re­leased top-scorer Thomas, who paused be­fore fir­ing past Matt In­gram.

Yet, within a minute, Long pinched the ball from Ryan Led­son and the Burn­ley loa­nee turned Aaron Mar­tin in­side out be­fore fir­ing through East­wood’s legs.

Ox­ford toiled in the sec­ond half, with Rob­bie Hall their only threat, but a lack of com­po­sure around the penalty area proved costly.

Pep Clotet’s side have now lost their last four matches in all com­pe­ti­tions but the U’s man­ager pointed to the pos­i­tives de­spite a sec­ond home de­feat in four days.

He said: “We still have more points than the team had last sea­son (at this stage).

“The play­ers and my­self really like the foot­ball we are play­ing and we just want to make sure that we can com­pete a bit bet­ter.

“At the same time, we are League One and in League One, it is this kind of game.

“Here, we were un­for­tu­nate with some of the mis­takes we made and they were for­tu­nate with some of the mis­takes they made – that’s the na­ture of the game.”

STAR MAN ASH TAY­LOR Northamp­ton

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