The Carling Cup dreams are over for another season after Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers brought a second string to Sixfields that was far too strong in quality for a Cobblers side left with far too much to do after two first half goals set Mick McCarthy’s men en route to Round Three.
There was to be no upset this time, no moments that will live powerfully in the memory but instead it was the visitors who left with all the plaudits following a ruthless display that was rounded off with a victory that was perhaps a little harsh on the Cobblers.
A difference in attitude and a difference in sheer class from previous Cobblers victims were the main reasons why Wolves didn’t fall down the same route as Liverpool last season and Ipswich two weeks ago. McCarthy sent out a completely new eleven to the team that lined up against Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon but it was still enough to see them through what would have been a tricky tie on paper.
Sylvain Ebanks-Blake was the main terrorist early on with his one on one saved well by Sam Walker, the Town keeper continuing to impress between the sticks. Bayo Akinfenwa missed a sitter from just yards out for the Cobblers in our best chance of the opening exchanges as the game went from end to end and for a moment it looked like being a close contest.
But as soon as Ebanks-Blake opened the scoring you got the feeling that it would be a long way back for the Cobblers as the former Plymouth man got on the end of a Kevin Foley pass to smash Wolves in front. Indeed just minutes later, Nenad Milijas curled in a superb free kick that beat Walker all ends up for a 2-0 half time lead.
Town started well in the second half with Lewis Young having a good effort saved by Dorus De Vries before the Wolves keeper was on hand again to deny Paul Turnbull. At that point the next goal was crucial and the fact that Wolves soaked up that pressure before scoring it meant that it was game over with fifteen minutes to go.
Michael Kightly crossed from the left for Ebanks-Blake to grab his second with a bullet header and that signalled the end of the road for the Cobblers. Rather harshly, Sam Vokes made it 4-0 in the final few minutes to rub further salt in the wounds and we’re left to turn the attention to the league game with Morecambe on Saturday and the JPT tie at home to League One Huddersfield in a week’s time.
Morecambe becomes a huge game in terms of confidence for the Cobblers players. Despite the opposition here being of real quality there’s still likely to be some heads dropping in the dressing room and Gary Johnson must lift his troops ahead of a crucial league game on Saturday. Ending the first month with seven points on the board rather than four would make us feel a whole lot better about ourselves and Sixfields could do with seeing a first home win of the season.
If we can get that then tonight will become a welcome distant memory. Good luck to Wolves for the season – if this performance is anything to go by then your squad is looking very, very healthy indeed and there should be no repeat of the last two season’s relegation worries.