Accrington Stanley’s poor form continued, losing 5-1 against 10-man Northampton Town at the Store First Stadium.
The visitors raced into a two goal lead as Ricky Holmes fired in off the bar after just five minutes and Marc Richards’ penalty doubled the lead with half an hour on the clock.
Ryan Cresswell saw red for fouling Sean Maguire when the attacker was in on goal and Piero Mingoia followed up Luke Joyce’s saved spot-kick to halve the advantage.
But the Reds could not capitalise on having the extra man, instead conceding two goals in as many minutes when Lawson D’Ath chipped Matt Macey from 25 yards and Richards firing high into the net following defensive calamity.
D’Ath rounded off the rout, clipping past Macey after being sent one-on-one with the goalkeeper by Holmes.
There was just one change for the Reds from the 1-0 defeat at home to Bury on Tuesday night with Marcus Carver coming into the side in place of Shay McCartan, who dropped to the bench.
The visitors took the lead with their first attack as Ricky Holmes ran onto a loose ball, worked some space for a shooting opportunity and his powerful effort cannoned off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net.
Stanley had a chance to equalise immediately when Adam Buxton whipped in a cross that Lawson D’Ath ducked out of the way of but Kal Naismith missed the ball.
Seamus Conneely blocked a shot from John-Joe O’Toole and Matt Macey had to be alert to clear the danger when veteran striker Marc Richards beat the Stanley offside trap.
Buxton fired a free-kick into the wall from 25 yards out whilst former Stanley man Joel Byrom saw a speculative effort fly high and wide at the other end.
Naismith almost put through his own net when he knocked a bouncing ball past Macey but Conneely was well-positioned to clear the ball off the goal line and spare the blushes of the winger.
However, the Reds left themselves facing a two-goal deficit as Buxton’s outstretched leg caught Holmes in the area and referee David Webb pointed to the spot.
Richards squeezed his spot-kick past Macey with the ball going under the body of the giant goalkeeper to give the Cobblers a 2-0 lead.
Stanley soon had a penalty of their own as West Ham United loanee Sean Maguire sprang the Northampton offside trap and drew a foul from Ryan Cresswell as he was about to pull the trigger. Referee Webb gave the penalty and showed the former Fleetwood defender a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
After a short delay, Stanley skipper Luke Joyce took the penalty but saw Matt Duke guess right and save his effort. Fortunately for John Coleman’s side, the rebound fell perfectly for Piero Mingoia to smash past Duke and bring Stanley back into the game before the half-time interval.
John Coleman made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Anthony Barry and James Gray replacing Andrew Procter and Marcus Carver.
Holmes almost found himself one-on-one with Macey following a long ball but his touch let him down and the Arsenal loanee gathered comfortably.
Seconds later he was forced into action as D’Ath took aim from 22 yards and the goalkeeper sprawled low to his left to turn the ball away.
The one-man advantage started to show for the Reds as substitute Gray found Maguire but he put his shot over the bar.
Gray himself had a chance from a corner but Lee Collins was on-hand to clear his header before Mingoia’s deflected shot from range brought a scrambling save from Duke ast his near post.
From the resulting corner Buxton unleashed a rocket which whistled past Duke’s top right corner, brushing the side-netting.
For all of their pressure, Stanley left themselves open at the back and were punished when they turned over possession on the halfway line, leaving Macey to contend with two Northampton players. D’Ath chipped an out of position Macey from 25 yards to restore the two-goal lead the Cobblers had accumulated earlier in the game.
It was to get worse for Coleman’s men just a minute later as the ball was lost in the left-back position, allowing D’Ath to cross for Richards to slam home into the roof of the net for his second goal of the day, extending the lead even further.
Gray headed over from a Dean Winnard cross from eight yards out and Josh Windass, on for Kal Naismith, fired erratically high and wide as Stanley searched for a route back into the contest.
The misery was compounded when a cross from Holmes sent D’Ath scampering away from the Accrington defence and the midfielder confidently slid the ball past Macey to take the score to 5-1.
Windass saw a couple of efforts saved by Duke but it was the best Stanley could muster as they slumped to a fourth successive defeat in League Two.
Stanley: Macey; Winnard, Conneely, Atkinson, Buxton; Joyce, Procter (Barry 46); Mingoia, Maguire, Naismith (Windass 67); Carver (Gray 46).
Subs not used: Dawber, Liddle, Hunt, McCartan.
Attendance:1,328 (317 away)