In a year that is going from strength to strength, 2010 is proving to be a quite remarkable one so far for the Cobblers. This latest important three points, a relatively straight forward win over a tired Morecambe side, means that Sammo’s team have now won ten of fourteen games since the turn of the year. That form in itself is promotion form without a doubt and that scenario is looking more and more likely by the week despite there still being nine games to play.
The playoff chasing visitors were opened up and after a trip to Hereford in midweek ran out of legs and couldn’t get back into the game after goals from Liam Davis and Ryan Gilligan had given the Cobblers the advantage.
Billy McKay had already had a good chance after just fifteen seconds, forcing Morecambe keeper Barry Roche into a good stop but Davis wouldn’t be denied a minute and a half later as he picked his spot in the corner of the net after being played in by Peter Gilbert. That set us up for the half and gave Sixfields another advantage to cheer. With a solid defensive unit we now look confident whenever in front and the early relief of a goal was certainly a blessing.
Bayo Akinfenwa could have had a couple before the break, twice denied by Roche as the Cobblers kept the pressure on whilst Paul Mullin had the best chance for Morecambe. The small band of travelling support had little to get excited about apart from that though and we were in front at half-time.
It was a good time for the break with a shift in pressure going over to Morecambe but we were straight out of the blocks once again in the second half as Ryan Gilligan got on the end of a fine move to score his eleventh of the season. Good work from Gilbert found Akinfenwa and the big man held the ball up well to play in the midfielder who made no mistake.
Billy McKay curled a shot just wide as we kept the pressure on before Gilligan had a couple of shots blocked. The highlight of the game for the home fans at least was the sight moments later as Bayo chased his man back for over half of the pitch, sprinting back to cover and make a challenge, earning him the biggest cheer of the afternoon!
Steve Guinan made his return to the side as he replaced McKay late in the game and there was only a late Phil Jevons effort to bother us as Sammo led his side to a fifth straight victory that keeps us well and truly in a playoff place.
Results elsewhere, crucially defeats for Shrewsbury and Accrington of the chasing pack and for Bournemouth in third place, means that the Cobblers are three points clear of eighth place and just six behind third in an incredible turn around. Rotherham could go third on Tuesday night should they see off Macclesfield Town but for now we once again bask in a weekend that sees us as the side to fear in League Two. Sammo is working wonders, no doubt about it. Now keep one eye behind us but the other one on that (dare we even mention?) final automatic promotion place.
Hold on to your hats! Lincoln up next…