>Northampton Town 2-0 Darlington
Saturday, March 13th 2010
When the Cobblers were floundering in 21st position earlier this season, you would have laughed at anyone that would have even mentioned the playoffs. But after this afternoon’s 2-0 win over plucky but poor Darlington, Sammo’s men have reach seventh place and now, incredibly, have a proper chance of a playoff spot.
There’s still a lot of football to be played of course but the momentum is now well and truly with the Cobblers after four straight wins and who would bet against us sealing a place in the end of season lottery now? Goals from Billy McKay and Abdul Osman made it safe today but a second half that saw the visitors give us a real test showed that there’s still work to be done.
Darlington came to Sixfields hoping to make at least some ground up at the bottom but their first half showing was far from convincing and explained why they are the Football League’s bottom club.
Alex Dyer was drafted into the Cobblers midfield with the absence of Ryan Gilligan, John Curtis, Kevin Thornton and Luke Guttridge, the latter making the bench after an injury sustained this week. Dyer was involved early on as he cut the ball back to Liam Davis who should have done better from close range, bringing a good stop from visiting keeper Shane Redmond.
But the Cobblers would go on to take the lead as Adebayo Akinfenwa crashed a shot off the cross bar and John Johnson finished it off.
The lead was doubled soon afterwards as a Liam Davis corner was only cleared as far as Osman who finished from inside the area and we were well in control as half tiem approached.
The second half certainly didn’t live up to the first half promise with a more subdued performance from the Cobblers and more purpose from Darlo. The visitors in fact looked more likely to score as Gary Smith tested Jason Steele and the Cobblers on loan keeper did well to also block the follow up from Josh Gray.
The Cobblers just couldn’t get a hold of the game in the second half but Luke Guttridge’s introduction at least gave us a bit more control back in the game and Bayo could have made it three in stoppage time but his turn and shot went wide of the post.
The second half didn’t matter though and the result was the thing that meant the most. With Rochdale defeating Shrewsbury, we moved up to the playoff zone, something inconceivable earlier in the season. We now have a real chance of ending the season with a chance at League One and the excitement, tension and belief is rising at Sixfields.
Now comes ten games that will become a crucial part of the history of Northampton Town. Let battle commence…