Well, the long run without conceding is over but much, much more importantly, the Cobblers came out of last night’s trip to Darlington with all three points. Showing real character and fighting spirit, Sammo’s men came out on top in a victory that propelled us to the top half of League Two.
Tadgh Purcell was the man to break the stubborn resistance of the Cobblers defence, who by that point had gone past the 500 minute mark in terms of no goals conceded, when he pounced on the half hour mark to give the hosts hope of a rare victory in their bid to escape the dreaded drop to non league.
A few weeks ago, the Cobblers were realistically fearing the same fate but Sammo has slowly steadied the rocking ship and impressively hit home into the squad a fighting spirit that we completely lacked before, epitomised by the second half last night. Billy McKay, who seems to have been given a new lease of life in 2010, rounded the home keeper to level the scores with ten minutes of the half played.
Courtney Herbert was brought on in a surprising tactical switch for Bayo and his pace was used against a tiring home defence to good effect. It was McKay, though, who was creating the winning goal. John Johnson fed the former Leicester man on the right and McKay’s cross found Ryan Gilligan perfectly and he volleyed home to put us in front.
There was still work to be done though and Chris Dunn, at the centre of the fine defensive run, was on top form to deny Jeff Smith. A clutch of substitutions followed with Kevin Thornton handed a debut and veteran Noel Whelan on for Darlo.
The Cobblers held out and claimed three massive points to move into the top half of the table. With Burton Albion visiting on Saturday there’s every chance that we can register more points and really start to look up the table rather than down it.
There’s a lot to be said about a settled squad and the fact that Sammo could name an unchanged starting eleven for the fourth time in succession means that there’s at last some stability in the ranks. Players are playing for each other, we’re starting to believe in ourselves and now is hopefully the time when the claret faithful can get a reward for months of struggle up and down the country. Let’s get back to Sixfields on Saturday and give the lads that twelfth man!
Up the Cobblers!