>Rochdale 1-0 Northampton Town
Saturday, April 17th 2010
Three 1-0 defeats in a row for the Cobblers was just the backing story to today’s game as Rochdale secured their first promotion in over forty years. So firstly, congratulations to the Dale for this achievement and unfortunately the Cobblers’ own promotion bid has been severely hit this afternoon.
The absence of Bayo Akinfenwa for the last four games, all four in which we have failed to find the net, is no coincidence and we badly need the big man back for the final three games – all of which we now must win to stand a chance of the playoffs.
Today saw Rochdale come out all guns blazing as they looked for that illusive promotion and the illusive goal took just twenty three minutes to come. Chris O’Grady’s prolific season went on as he scored following a corner, a nice turn and shot that found the roof of Jason Steele’s net.
That set Dale up for an assault on the Cobblers goal for the rest of the half and we were lucky to go in at half time just a goal down. Chris Dagnall shot wide before a goal mouth scramble was just about cleared by the Town defence, including Andy Holt who deputised for the suspended Craig Hinton. Kevin Thornton, replacing the other suspended Cobblers player Luke Guttridge, tested our former loan keeper Frank Fielding.
The Cobblers were marginally better in the second half as the home fans nervously watched the clock tick down towards their promotion.
Steve Guinan headed over the bar before Billy McKay tried to round Fielding but the keeper got his hands to the ball. Courtney Herbert and Seb Harris were thrown on to try and grab us an equaliser but the game ticked away and we couldn’t create anything of note, signalling a wild pitch invasion at Spotland as the home fans finally celebrated their promotion.
As for the Cobblers, we’re down to eleventh and sit three points behind the top seven. Two things need to happen if we’re to make it into the playoffs now. Firstly, we need Bayo back. If we get him back, we may just find it in ourselves to make the second thing work and that’s to win all three of our remaining games.
It’s unlikely, but still, just about possible.