No wealth of nations for Adam Smith as MUFC beat Cobblers
September 22 2016
Jose Mourinho's Manchester United halted a three-match losing streak, securing safe passafe to the fourth round of the League Cup with a 3-1 victory at Northampton Town, to the delight of 944 away supporters. It was a night to forget, however, for the home side's well-rated stopper, Adam Smith.
Had this game come prior to United's losing streak, the media would have spoken of a ground-out United win, against a spirited, brave Northampton side.
After the losing run, however, the intense scrutiny instead focussed on the weaknesses of United's performance, with Wayne Rooney increasingly the target for such wrath.
In truth, whilst not a vintage display, United averted a potential banana skin with an ultimately comfortable win, against a Cobblers side who had already claimed two scalps of opposition in higher leagues this season.
United had well-regarded Town goalkeeper Smith to thank for two of the three goals, in a bitterly disappointing evening for the player's growing reputation. He collected a back pass shortly after the quarter-hour mark, needlessly giving a free-kick away. Rooney's resulting set-piece was blocked, before Carrick fired home the opener.
Nevertheless, having lost only twice in 11 outings prior to Wednesday evening's game, the home side were not to be deterred. Daley Blind fouled Sam Hoskins, to give Northampton the chance from twelve yards, and Alex Revell duly obliged.
Ander Herrera put United back ahead with a fine finish with 22 minutes to go, before Smith's misery was compounded. He misjudged a straightforward clearance, meaning Marcus Rashford marked his League Cup debut with a critical third goal for the Red Devils.
Full Time - Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United
Attendance - 7,798 (944 away)