>The curtain would fall on the 2009/10 season with the Cobblers narrowly missing out on the playoff dream. After battling back from the lower reaches of the league table at Christmas, Sammo couldn’t quite complete the turn around but it had still been a terrific effort.
Easter weekend saw us travel to Grimsby on Good Friday and host Torquay on Bank Holiday Monday and after a big win in Cleethorpes thanks to Liam Davis and Bayo Akinfenwa, Torquay held us to a goalless draw at Sixfields. The Cobblers were briefly in the playoffs after the Friday win but dropped out once again on the Monday with a clutch of massive games ahead,
The first of those was Notts County at home and we’d made a hugely positive start against the promotion favourites. Steve Guinan’s miss, though, when through one on one with County keeper Kasper Schmeichal was the turning point and the visitors won it with the first attack of the second half as Ben Davies scored the decisive goal.
We also came away from Rotherham empty handed on the following Tuesday and in a dramatic game Ryan Gilligan had the chance to put us in front but missed a penalty ten minutes before half time. It all turned around once more at the break as Craig Hinton was sent off for bringing down Adam Le Fondre and the Rotherham striker converted the spot kick.
Rochdale away wasn’t the ideal fixture after that double header and the downward turn continued with a third successive 1-0 loss. Chris O’Grady’s goal also meant that ‘Dale were promoted and began scenes of wild celebration at Spotland.
We needed something and a home win against Shrewsbury was just the ticket. Billy McKay struck on 52 minutes and Kevin Thornton sealed the victory late in the game with a rocket of a shot. That gave us slim hope back and despite being in tenth place were just a point off the playoffs.
All the play for then with a trip to Bradford and an emotional anniversary of the tragic fire at Valley Parade. The home side won through though with a double strike from Gareth Evans and there was far too much to do on the final day.
Bury were the final opposition of the season and also missed out on a playoff place due to other results. The Shakers took the lead to give their fans a moment of hope when Ryan Lowe scored in first half stoppage time but the season would end with a draw when Akinfenwa scored with what turned out to be the final touch of his Cobblers career, a deflected shot that couldn’t quite bury the disappointment of missing out on the top seven.
So another up and down season was over and we once again got one good half and one bad half of the campaign. But the silver lining was that the team were finally playing for each other again and compared to twelve months previous there was plenty to be happy with despite the fact that we will once again line up in League Two next season.