League Two
Northampton3Oxford Utd1

Northampton Town 3-1 Oxford United

Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder led Northampton Town to victory over his former club Oxford United to complete their remarkable escape from League Two relegation.

The Cobblers trailed when Ryan Williams poked in for Oxford early on.

But Williams saw red for kicking Ricky Ravenhill and Northampton swiftly replied through John Marquis's cool finish and an Ivan Toney header.

Mathias Kouo-Doumbe headed in after the break to complete the comeback and keep the Cobblers in the Football League.

Wilder's side had been entrenched in the bottom two since September until last week's win over Dagenham & Redbridge lifted them out of the mire and this was another vital victory for Northampton who, with Wycombe having won at Torquay, would have been relegated had they lost.

Eyebrows were raised in January when Wilder left Oxford to take over at the Cobblers, who were bottom of the league and six points adrift of safety.

But he has managed to pick up 28 points since arriving at Sixfields, and this win against his former employers secured the Football League status of a club who were beaten in the League Two play-off final just one year ago.

It started disastrously for the home side, as Williams got to Josh Ruffles's corner and nudged in from a few yards out.

With Wycombe already ahead at Torquay, it meant Northampton were below the dotted line and facing relegation, but they almost drew level when Toney raced clear and struck the post.

The game turned on its head with Williams's dismissal, as the Australian midfielder inexplicably kicked out at Ravenhill, and Gary Waddock's side, who have now lost eight of their last 10, were barely in the contest from that point.

With the Cobblers piling on the pressure, Chris Hackett twice went close before Marquis latched on to Toney's flick-on and stroked the ball into the bottom corner.

Later 18-year-old Toney rose to head in Evan Horwood's cross for his third goal in two games and after the break substitute Kouo-Doumbe nodded in Hackett's free-kick at the back post to ease the nerves of the home support.

The U's rarely threatened and could have been further behind had Jake Wright not managed to scramble back and clear Emile Sinclair's goal-bound effort.

The Cobblers eased home regardless and the final whistle was the cue for hundreds of supporters to flood on to the pitch and celebrate a survival bid that seemed very unlikely four months ago.

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Chris Wilder: Northampton boss on Oxford victory

Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder tells BBC Radio Northampton:

"I'm drained, but elated that we've retained our league status; I never wavered in my belief that this was a group of league players.

"We're one of the form teams over the last few months. Some people said the club was dead and buried so the player deserve an enormous amount of credit and we're going to have a good night.

"You don't want people jumping through hoops and saying it was a fantastic season - it wasn't. But we've kept the belief and the unity in the club has been unbelievable and I'm delighted myself and Alan Knill have played a part in taking us over the line."

Line-ups

Northampton

  • 1Duke
  • 11HackettBooked at 90mins
  • 25Horwood
  • 29RobertsonBooked at 21minsSubstituted forKouo-Doumbeat 45'minutes
  • 23Diamond
  • 12Tozer
  • 34Ravenhill
  • 4Carter
  • 9MarquisBooked at 61minsSubstituted forSinclairat 63'minutes
  • 24ToneySubstituted forDickensonat 74'minutes
  • 8Morris

Substitutes

  • 2McSweeney
  • 5Langmead
  • 7Sinclair
  • 13Snedker
  • 17Deegan
  • 27Kouo-Doumbe
  • 35Dickenson

Oxford Utd

  • 1Clarke
  • 34Bevans
  • 3Newey
  • 37Ruffels
  • 6Wright
  • 13Hunt
  • 18Davies
  • 17Rose
  • 9ConstableSubstituted forMarshat 75'minutes
  • 8KitsonSubstituted forO'Dowdaat 57'minutes
  • 15WilliamsBooked at 20mins

Substitutes

  • 5Meades
  • 20Marsh
  • 21Crocombe
  • 22Wroe
  • 30Long
  • 33Shama
  • 35O'Dowda
Referee:
Scott Duncan
Attendance:
7,529

Match Stats

Home TeamNorthamptonAway TeamOxford Utd
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home11
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home17
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Northampton Town 3, Oxford United 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Northampton Town 3, Oxford United 1.

Hand ball by Chris Hackett (Northampton Town).

Attempt missed. Callum O'Dowda (Oxford United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Booking

Chris Hackett (Northampton Town) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Chris Hackett (Northampton Town).

Tom Newey (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Richard Ravenhill (Northampton Town).

Scott Davies (Oxford United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Darren Carter (Northampton Town).

Callum O'Dowda (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Chris Hackett (Northampton Town).

Callum O'Dowda (Oxford United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Oxford United. Tyrone Marsh replaces James Constable.

Substitution

Substitution, Northampton Town. Brennan Dickenson replaces Ivan Toney.

Attempt missed. Emile Sinclair (Northampton Town) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Foul by Ben Tozer (Northampton Town).

Tom Newey (Oxford United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Emile Sinclair (Northampton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Ivan Toney (Northampton Town).

David Hunt (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Ivan Toney (Northampton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Davies (Oxford United).

Foul by Richard Ravenhill (Northampton Town).

Matt Bevans (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Northampton Town. Emile Sinclair replaces John Marquis.

John Marquis (Northampton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Callum O'Dowda (Oxford United).

Booking

John Marquis (Northampton Town) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Richard Ravenhill (Northampton Town).

James Constable (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Oxford United. Callum O'Dowda replaces Dave Kitson.

Matthias Kouo-Doumbe (Northampton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dave Kitson (Oxford United).

Goal!

Goal! Northampton Town 3, Oxford United 1. Matthias Kouo-Doumbe (Northampton Town) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Chris Hackett with a cross.

Chris Hackett (Northampton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Newey (Oxford United).

Foul by James Constable (Oxford United).

Zander Diamond (Northampton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Second Half

Second Half begins Northampton Town 2, Oxford United 1.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chesterfield462315871403184
2Scunthorpe462021568442481
3Rochdale462491369482181
4Fleetwood4622101466521476
5Southend4619151256391772
6Burton461915124742572
7York4618171152411171
8Oxford Utd461614165350362
9Dag & Red461515165359-660
10Plymouth461612185158-760
11Mansfield461515164958-960
12Bury461320135951859
13Portsmouth461417155666-1059
14Newport461416165659-358
15Accrington461415175456-257
16Exeter461413195457-355
17Cheltenham461316175363-1055
18Morecambe461315185264-1254
19Hartlepool461411215056-653
20Wimbledon461414184957-853
21Northampton461314194257-1553
22Wycombe461214204654-850
23Bristol Rovers461214204354-1150
24Torquay46129254266-2445
View full League Two table

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