>The Midweek Review…30/04/08…

>In the final midweek review before the season comes to an end this Saturday I look back on the away day at Port Vale and the varying degrees of success on the road this season.

Vale was a typical end of season affair but entertaining nonetheless. The inflatable crocodile being thrown around provided most of the entertainment for the opening 20 minutes or so before the game came into life and we had a quick fire double from Gilligan and Holt to give us a “comfortable” lead.

Marc Richards got his inevitable goal following a scramble and the fight back was on. The Cobblers needed half time and it looked like we were settling again in the second half when Vale equalised. From then on it was a case of frustration up front for us as we upped the tempo in search of the winner.

Giles Coke had a fantastic couple of bursts and more of the same from him next season would be very nice! Bayo looked again like he was struggling but I’m convinced that with a pre-season behind him he can be an asset. Gilligan has been deserving of his goal burst of late and will hopefully sign his new deal soon having gone from uncertain midfielder to grafter at both ends in a matter of months.

Of course it had to be 2-2 in the final away game of the season. And of course we had to go 2-0 up and concede the lead; it just about summed up a season of “what ifs” on our travels. Leads have been thrown away at Tranmere, Orient, Forest, Southend and now Vale and just a couple of those being turned into wins could well have given us something more from the season.

I’ve come up with a list of my favourite away trips this season, memorable for whatever reason and the joy of the away day is that everyone has their own memories. But my top trips include:

Bournemouth (September 15th) 1-1

The hottest day of the year greeted us and the fact that it was my birthday weekend made it even better. Not the greatest of games as Colin Larkin grabbed a point but a superb weekend all round as my friends rallied round to join my on a birthday trip!

Millwall (October 2nd) 0-2

A dire night all round- we rushed up after work on the train from Southampton, legged it to the ground and were then told that the team bus was late and kick off was delayed! The team never recovered from a short warm-up and we performed awfully to go down 2-0.

Crewe (November 17th) 0-1

A totally awful game but meeting random fans of other teams en route to games plus a very nice stop off in Stafford meant it was a good day out all the same.

Nottingham Forest (December 15th) 2-2

It seemed all too easy for Forest early on and it looked like we were in for a severe beating until Hoobs and Jones put us 2-1 up inside a five minute period in the second half. Junior Agogo headed home in stoppage time to earn Forest a draw but the fight we showed at the City Ground went a long way to easing the pain of seven games without a win.

Leeds (5th January) 0-3

Outplayed, outclassed and with injuries meaning we were no match for the home side, all that gets this game onto the list is the fact that we were playing at Elland Road! The five hour trip back to Southampton wasn’t nice!

Yeovil (February 12th) 0-1

Another poor game but the fact that we were told it would take half an hour to walk from our hotel to Huish Park was totally wrong, meaning we missed the first 20 minutes, made it memorable for the wrong reasons! The last minute winner for Yeovil put the icing on the cake.

Southend (April 12th) 1-1

A group of us descended on Southend for the weekend to take in the game and then a night out and although playoff hopes were ended it was another fantastic road trip to combine with a game.

Finishing that list and I’ve just realised that I haven’t actually seen us win away all season as I missed out on all five successes at Oldham, Huddersfield, Gillingham, Hartlepool and Walsall!

We end the season with a home game against Tranmere with a place in the top ten at stake. Victory will guarantee that we finish in our highest league position for many a year and for that we should be congratulated.

Alex Dyer has won the young player of the season award after breaking into the first team while Bunny looks odds on to retain the senior crown. Jason Crowe looks likely to be the one who pushes him the hardest this time around.

It’ll be strange being without a Town game for a few months again but let’s hope that we go away for the summer break with real hope for the 2008/09 campaign!

Up The Cobblers!


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