Report: Cobblers Stunned By Second Half Comeback
Saturday 16 October / 3:00pm
Attendance: 4,333 (332 Away Fans)
Northampton fell to their fourth consecutive defeat where three first half goals from Leon McKenzie were not enough as Hereford fought back from three goals down to win 4-3.
Ian Sampson rewarded Leon McKenzie a start along side Billy McKay upfront with the Cobblers reverting back to the traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Hereford caretaker boss Jamie Pitman's new found fire and determination in his side was evident straight from the off as Hereford searched to take an early advantage. The Cobblers broke down the attack quickly and came forward on the counter, the ball eventually falling to on-loan QPR winger Josh Parker whose effort was deflected behind for a corner within the first 60 seconds of the match.
In an even first 20 minutes of the game, the Cobblers took the advantage through Leon McKenzie for his first goal for the club. Liam Davis, awarded player of the month for September, swung in the cross for McKenzie to comfortably head in past Adam Bartlett in the Hereford goal.
McKenzie's enthusiasm got the better of him after being booked for removing his shirt for his celebration.
Matheiu Manset replaced Dominik Werling and was immediately involved in the next Hereford attack. A quick one-two put Manset through on goal but his left footed strike flew high over Chris Dunn's cross-bar.
Leon McKenzie was again on the score sheet after 41 minutes. The former Peterbourough striker was in the right place to convert the rebound from Kevin Thornton's initial effort after good work from midfielder Ryan Gilligan.
McKenzie did well to contain his excitement this time but still managed to deface the corner flag with his boxer-style celebration.
And McKenzie had bagged his hat-trick just before half-time to all but settle the result for the Cobblers. A back pass from the Hereford defence fell short allowing the lively McKenzie to capitalise on the mistake, rounding the keeper and comfortably slotting home to the amusement of the Sixfields crowd.
And that turned out to be McKenzie's last involvement in the game as early into the second half, an awkward challenge resulted in McKenzie being replaced by former Hereford striker Steve Guinan.
On 54 minutes, Stuart Fleetwood was brought on to replace Kenny Lunt to the cheers of the Hereford travelling support.
Only 5 minutes later and Fleetwood had pulled one back for the visitors. Chris Dunn's fingertips were not enough as Fleetwood's finish crept in off the post for his first goal of the season.
Suddenly the mood of the game changed as the travelling support sensed a second half fight back.
Good work on the left from Guillem Bauza seemed to have been dealt with by the Cobblers defence but the Spainiard's clever chip on the by-line sat up kindly for Fleetwood to head in past the stranded Dunn on 70 minutes.
The Bulls were back in it and you could only sense this being Hereford's day as the influential Parker and McKenzie had left the pitch.
And only moments later, the Bulls fightback was complete, James McQuilkin fantastically curling his effort in beyond Chris Dunn from the edge of the area infront of the ecstatic travelling support.
But still, Hereford had not finished as they continued to drive forward. Bauza combined well with the powerful Manset on the right who seemed to have been dealt with by Andy Holt. Manset then skillfully cut inside and his stinging low, left footed drive crept in off the post to complete a remarkable comeback for Jamie Pitman's side.
In the dieing minutes of the game defender Ben Tozer reacted angrily by throwing the ball at a Hereford player for a decision that went against him. Tozer's actions resulted in a straight red card and now will change Ian Sampson's plans as to whether to extend his loan deal now that Tozer faces the possibility of facing a three match ban.
'Who needs Mourinho, We've got our Physio!' rang out across the travelling faithful as Hereford saw out victory. All credit must go to caretaker Jamie Pitman and his staff for installing back fight and determination in his confidence hit squad. It must have been one hell of a half time team-talk after looking down and out after McKenzie's first half hat-trick. Hereford remain bottom after today's victory but now look well on course to climb the League Two table.
Congratulations to Pitman who now will become a strong contender for the vacant managers post at Edgar Street.
Northampton stay out of the drop zone by one point behind Barnet and Hereford and now the Cobblers face a defensive problem as they prepare to travel to Oxford next weekend.
Rewarded a start after three consecutive substitute appearances, McKenzie duly replied with his first three goals for the club.
The Whole Side!
Based on their second half performance, a whole team effort from the Bulls. Manset and Fleetwood in particular, have that much needed fire-power to get Hereford climbing this division.