Joy of six as Jimmy’s boys start climbing
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