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Blues back to their best in thumping away win
Northampton Town 1, Wycombe Wanderers 4.
JO Kuffour scored after just 14 seconds as Wanderers set themselves up for a thumping away win as they ended their winless streak in emphatic fashion.
Ruthless Wanderers carved a hopeless Northampton side apart as they could have scored the four goals they eventually managed before the half time whistle.
Youngster Kortney Hause doubled the lead in a first half that Blues absolutely dominated, as the Cobblers lived up to their nickname in a simply shocking display.
A comeback was briefly on as Izale McLeod netted for the hosts five minutes after the break, but after weathering a storm Wanderers regrouped and confirmed their biggest win of the season thanks to further strikes from captain Stuart Lewis and Dean Morgan.
With Wanderers having not won in the league for two months supporters could have been forgiven for approaching this game with some trepidation, but any gloom around Sixfields on a dank day was lifted after just 14 seconds as Nick Arnold skipped down the right and found Kuffour in the box with a clever pass, and the striker smashed the ball past Matt Duke at his near post to put Blues in front.
Kuffour then stole possession from the resulting kick off and fed the recalled Morgan, whose shot struck a defender and deflected into the path of Max Kretzschmar, but he scuffed his shot tamely at Duke.
The midfielder was more clinical with his next effort – Blues’ fourth attempt at goal in a storming opening five minutes - as his low shot drew an impressive save from Duke.
Wanderers had the advantage of the wind in the first half but their stunning opening was no fluke, and they thought they had doubled their lead when Morgan netted a picture book header, only to be denied by an offside flag.
Matt Bloomfield’s shot deflected inches wide of the post but it was from the resulting corner that Wanderers extended their lead. Bloomfield’s attempted volley turned into a perfect pass for Kretzschmar to swing the ball back into the box, with Morgan heading it across goal for Hause to calmly nod in his first of the season.
Rampant Wanderers threatened to score every time they went forward as Kuffour was put clean through and Duke stood up to turn his shot away.
Morgan again had the ball in the net, chipping over the stranded Duke, and again he had skipped past the last defender too early and was flagged offside.
Northampton had already been forced into one change, with the injured Ian Morris hobbling off, when manager Aidy Boothroyd elected to replace hapless striker Clive Platt with Roy O’Donovan before half and hour had been played.
Even by that stage though Boothroyd would probably have changed all ten of his outfield players if he was allowed that luxury, so dreadful had his side been.
Finally the hosts managed a goalscoring opportunity as McLeod’s rising effort was comfortably and confidently batted away by Matt Ingram – who, unlike his opposite number Duke, had had little to do.
Chances continued to come the visitors’ way as Morgan dragged a shot wide after the Cobblers failed to clear a corner and Sam Wood miscued from 30 yards after picking the pocket of former Wanderers loanee Chris Hackett and breaking forward.
The hosts really should have pulled one back on the stroke of half time however as O’Donovan’s close range shot was blocked by Anthony Stewart and ran kindly for McLeod, but the striker blazed high and wide from eight yards.
They made their third and final change at half time as Luke Norris replaced skipper Paul Reid, and his first act was to send an acrobatic overhead kick screaming past the upright as Wanderers struggled to clear their lines.
His next meaningful touch was even more decisive as he headed Hackett’s cross down into McLeod’s path, and the former MK Dons man spun past his marker to drill home a goal from close range and give Northampton a way back into the game.
Wanderers responded as a Kretzschmar free kick clipped the wall and landed on the roof of the net and Morgan’s diving header extended Duke again, with the Town keeper making a superb full-length save.
Anthony Stewart then stretched to make a superb tackle to stop Norris in his tracks, with the substitute almost going clean through with just Ingram to beat.
Just when Northampton were threatening a comeback defender Mathias Kouo-Doumbe was forced off through injury, meaning Town had to play the final quarter of the game a man light.
Wanderers took advantage of the extra man to seal victory ten minutes from time. Lewis had not long had a set-to with Ricky Ravenhill, with the Blues skipper fuming at a tackle that left him injured.
He took out his frustration in emphatic fashion as substitute Billy Knott got clear down the left and pulled the ball back for Lewis to send a bullet of a shot searing into the bottom corner, with the midfielder being booked for his overexuberant celebration.
Arnold’s dipping shot was somehow kept out by Duke’s fingertips and Morgan’s downward header from the corner that followed was blocked as Wanderers found a second wind.
Finally Morgan did what he had been threatening all afternoon as he broke clear, shimmied his way past Kevin Amankwaah and curled a beautiful shot into the bottom corner for his first goal since September.
Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Stewart, Hause, Wood, Arnold, Lewis, Bloomfield, Kretzschmar (sub Knott), Morgan, Kuffour (sub McClure). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Angol, Spring, Cann-Svard, Morias.
Attendance: 4,353 (439 from Wycombe)
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