January would become the real turning point of the season in many ways. Suddenly, everything started to come together, we began to pick up points, moved up the table at a steady pace and as a result, Sammo earned his very first Manager of the Month award.
The first test of the new decade saw the Cobblers travel to Bournemouth and a high flying Cherries side who were fighting for a top three place. But we would stun the hosts by recording a more than impressive victory at Dean Court. Luke Guttridge scored our first goal of the decade, finishing off a fine move before Ryan Gilligan had us 2-0 up within the opening fifteen minutes. Bournemouth rallied a little in the second half but not enough and we had a superb start to 2010.
Another away game followed on the Wednesday night with a similar outcome at Macclesfield Town. Guttridge continued his fine form by giving us the lead and Adebayo Akinfenwa’s header from Guttridge’s cross sealed back to back wins.
A goalless draw at home with playoff chasing Chesterfield wasn’t the end of the world after those two results and the away wins kept on coming as the Cobblers came from behind at doomed Darlington to win 2-1 and to keep the momentum going. Tadhg Purcell gave Darlo a twentieth minute lead but Billy McKay and Ryan Gilligan scored to add more misery to the league’s bottom club.
Burton Albion were the visitors to Sixfields in the final game of the month Shaun Harrad seemed to be sending the Brewers to all three points until Andy Holt got on the end of a flick from Cobblers new boy Stephen O’Flynn to drive the ball home and earn another point and to round off an unbeaten January.
At the end of the month, the Cobblers were climbing back up the table and were in thirteenth place, just five points away from the top seven and a playoff place. Many teams had games in hand though with the January weather halting plenty of League Two games so it was beginning to look like a nervy wait throughout the final months of the season.
At last, though, we had something to fight for.