It’s a firm and happy farewell to 2009 for the Cobblers and a delightful start to the new decade as goals from Luke Guttridge and Ryan Gilligan stunned second placed Bournemouth at Dean Court yesterday. Ian Sampson has promised new face in the coming weeks but the current group have now surely put a few doubts in his mind by recording a run of five games unbeaten with just one goal, a penalty, conceded in the last four.
The Cherries were in good form and eyeing a win to keep alive their stint in the top three but it was Sammo’s men who dictated the game from the off and surprised the home side with two early goals.
Billy McKay, earning a start in place of Courtney Herbert after a couple of bright performances, played in Guttridge who provided us with our first goal of the new decade, cooly finishing past Shwan Jalal in the Bournemouth goal.
Brett Pitman tested the resolve of Chris Dunn shortly afterwards but the Cobblers would go on to double the lead on the quarter hour mark. Adebayo Akinfenwa held the ball up and then set up Ryan Gilligan who struck the ball brilliantly into the net from distance.
Some Cobblers fans hadn’t even turned up by this point having been held up by traffic outside of Bournemouth but even they would have been stunned by the progress of their team when they eventually streamed through the turnstile. On the half hour mark, McKay struck the post with a good curling shot that threatened to extend the lead but we were comfortable enough going into the break.
It was a strange phenomonen that the Cobblers were holding their own, holding onto a two goal lead without much pressure from a disappointing home side. You just expected an onslaught that never happened, a barrage of attacks on out goal and some last ditch goal line clearances. Instead, it was the Cobblers who threatened the most with Guttridge going close once more with a good long range shot with fifteen minutes to play.
But it was a calm enough end to the game and we had sealed a superb three points, giving us a solid return of seven points from the Christmas period against tough opposition which stands us in good stead before the transfer window sets in.
Just one point mow separates the Cobblers from the top half of the table now and that in itself is a good step and if we can force our way out of trouble then we will at last have something to keep us interested in a season that could still be salvageable yet!