>Port Vale 1-3 Northampton Town
Saturday, March 6th 2010
If ever there was a time for it all to come together on one majestic away day then this was it. A trip to an improving Port Vale side under Mickey Adams was a tough test and the Cobblers’ recent away form would be severely put under the microscope against a side still harbouring their own playoff ambitions. But on the day that Sammo signed a new contract, keeping his Sixfields legacy alive until 2013, his side did him proud and edged to within three points of the top seven.
The Town boss kept faith with many of his side with Ryan Gilligan the only one of three returning midfielders to go straight back into the starting eleven. The faith was rewarded as the Cobblers were two goals better off than their hosts by half time and despite a second half rally we clung on to the most vital of all the latest victories.
It was a frantic start to the game and it should have been no surprise that goals were flowing after the teams shared four of them at Sixfields earlier in the season. Bayo was the first off the mark as he added to his impressive recent form by holding off three defenders before shooting low into the corner from outside the area.
But Vale were back in the game almost immediately when Cobblers loan keeper Jason Steele could only parry a long range effort into the path of Doug Loft who finished well to level the scores with just five minutes played.
The first half was finely balanced but it was a goalkeeping error that handed us the initiative right on the stroke of half time as Joe Anyon in the Vale goal dropped a Paul Rodgers cross into the path of Abdul Osman who was only too happy to notch his first goal of the season. There was still time for more though as we extended the lead in first half stoppage time. Billy McKay latched on to a clever pass from Liam Davis to slot the ball past Anyon for 3-1.
Jason Steele would prove his worth in the second half as the home side pressed to get back into the game. Craig Davies forced a good save from the loan man before former Cobbler Marc Richards’ glancing header produced another fine stop.
But the Town defence held firm and it was another huge win, the third in a row now, for Sammo’s men and more good news was to follow with results going our way, particularly at Grimsby where Shrewsbury were beaten 3-0 to fall to within three points of the Cobblers’ reach.
With the Shrews hosting top club Rochdale next weekend and the Cobblers at home to bottom club Darlington, this is the time where we need to keep it going, get the town behind us once more for a final push. It’s official – we’re playoff contenders…let’s give it one last push and keep Sammo’s Wembley dream alive!