Walsall came out easy winners against an effcient and hardworking Cobblers side, who just lacked the finished quality that was apparent in the visitors. Walsall made two changes with on loan Peter Sweeney and returning Mark Bradley taking up centre midfield with Sonko and Wrack going to the flanks and Demontagnac and Hall to the bench.
Northampton have been inconsistent for much of the season so far and their form seems to rely on the ruthlessness of former Boston United striker Andy Kirk. Lucky for the Saddlers that Kirk wasn't in the mood. Though overall it was an effcient display, the Saddlers would have been disappointed how they'd started the match and next saturday if the Cobblers do manage to find the net in the first fifthteen minutes it'll be a totally different ball game. That's because Northampton were dominant in the opening exchanges, with ex Dingle Colin Larkin working hard and Andy Holt flashing a header just wide.
But credit to the Saddlers the now resolute back five did survive and the visitors came roaring back into the match. Ricketts fired the ball over the bar after collecting a Sweeney pass. Then Bunn in the Cobblers goal had to save a thirty five yard shot from winger Darren Wrack. What was to be an impressive forty five minutes work by the Saddlers got even better on the stroke of half time, Mooney fed the ball into Ricketts who in turn fed the bursting Bradley, who fired low, Bunn saved well but unfortunately the ball came back to the Welsh man who wasn't going to need a third invitation. One nil to the Saddlers, Bradley who after scoring for his country in midweek was ozzing cocky assurance and confidence as he strode forward to help Mooney and Ricketts, knowing Sweeney was behind plugging the gap that he'd left, hopefully this relationship can only get better.
The hardworking Cobblers came out fighting for the point, but the Saddlers rearguard was just too strong and Clayton Ince's record of clean sheets could just need upping again. The home side decided to twist just before the hour mark making three attacking subsitutions. After surviving Mark Hughes and giant Paul Hubertz headers that both missed the target the Saddlers finished the game off.
Bradley collected the ball on the right on a counter attack, he looked up and saw the on rushing sub Demontagnac, he made no mistake with the pass and Demontagnac finished with one touch, firing low under Bunn. If only the young Demontagnac had been so assured when clean through against Luton the previous week, the Saddlers would now been in the playoffs.
Northampton are no mugs, their Manager has the reputation of an incompetent prat (Southampton fiasco) but they will be all willing and fired up to get revenge against the Saddlers in the second round of the FA cup. Walsall will have to defend just as well if they are to grind out this same fantastic result. It seems now that the Saddlers are being taken as serious play-off contenders, in the larger picture they'll halfway there to the points total which will see survival from relegation, but the future does seem bright.
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