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League Two

Chris Wilder relieved after Northampton Town's great escape

3 May 2014

Manager Chris Wilder was a very happy - and relieved man - after Northampton Town beat his former club Oxford United 3-1 to preserve their 94-year Football League status.

Home grown Ivan Toney played a big part in helping Cobblers avoid relegation, setting up the equaliser for John Marquis to cancel out Ryan Williams' opener and heading home the second goal.

Williams' red card shortly after his opener did not help Oxford's cause and substitute Mathias Kouo-Doube's goal shortly after the restart settled Northampton's nerves.

Wilder said: "I'm drained but elated that we've stayed up. I had a quick chat with the players and it's strange because this is the last time you're all together so I thanked them for all their efforts.

"I've never wavered in my belief that these were a group of Football League players but we've had to work extra hard to get the results.

"We've been one of the form teams over the past few months and people were saying we were dead and buried so the players deserve an enormous amount of credit."

Looking back on the final day victory, Wilder added: "I can't do anything about the decision to send their player off but I felt we played very well against 10 men, which is sometimes hard to do.

"We could have gone in at half time with a bigger lead, the players are sure Zander's [Diamond] effort was over the line.

"But we can't complain. We needed two big performances in the last two games and the players have given me them. All credit to them for that.

"We never ever contemplated going down and were 100 per cent confident we could turn it around.

"The players wanted to play for this football club and get results, and they've that. Now the players can enjoy the back of the season and prepare for a lot of hard work in the summer."

Oxford manager Gary Waddock said: "That 90 minutes probably summed up Oxford's season. We were very good for parts of the game but then faded away.

"The red card was the turning point. Ryan [Williams] had started the game very well, especially with the goal. It was delayed reaction from him but you can't act like he did and get away with it.

"But we conceded poor goals, which were down to errors and never got back in it after that."

As for next season, Waddock added: "I don't know how many of those players out there will be here next season.

"For me, next season starts now and I'd like to have my new squad by tonight! But I've go to sit down with the chairman and hopefully by the end of the week we will have more idea of who will be staying.

"First and foremost, I will deal with the players who are out of contract, out of respect to them. That will be done first but some players may have other options and they have to decide if this is the right club for them.

"After that we'll be working very hard to bring in the players I want. I'm aware of the budget restrictions at Oxford but that's no different to many other clubs in this league."

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