>Desperate times…

>Northampton Town 0-1 Macclesfield Town
League Two
Saturday, March 12th 2011

It’s getting desperate now. When Macclesfield Town complete a double over you then there’s nothing you can say to defend your league position. The heady days of six draws in a row seem years ago now and the game that was meant to be the one where a week’s training and analysis from Gary Johnson would all come together following two more difficult games turned out the complete opposite this afternoon.

You have to credit the visitors in all this as well though. They came, saw and conquered Sixfields and could well have had more to show then their 1-0 win that propels them above the Cobblers and puts us into a relegation battle. That’s the reality now as Barnet’s win suddenly means we’re just six points above the drop zone with some tough games to come, not least at a resurgent Bradford next weekend.

With Dean Beckwith out injured, Marcus Hall was strangely given the centre back slot above the more suited Ben Tozer who Johnson really does not seem to like! Ryan Gilligan also returned after his loan spell at Torquay ended and the midfielder replaced Kevin Thornton with Andy Holt back to his strikers’ role.

The game was actionless until the half hour mark when Michael Jacobs almost gave the Cobblers the lead but his shot was turned away by the impressive and in form Macc keeper Jose Veiga. Veiga kept his side in the game on Tuesday night, not least by saving a penalty, against Crewe and his stature seems to be growing by the game.

It would be another clean sheet here as the Cobblers grew ever more frustrated with Shaun Harrad also firing wide in the first half. But the killer blow and a further knock to our fragile confidence came just after half time when Colin Daniel hit a sweet volley past Chris Dunn. It could have been worse had it not been for the Town keeper after a mix up in the defence that led to Sam Wedgebury going through one on one but Dunn kept it out, perhaps justifying his starting place ahead of his new competition from Steve Collis on the bench.

Guillem Bauza came off the bench for his debut but he couldn’t provide the spark needed and we fell to a fourth straight defeat and a league position that’s becoming ever worrying by the week. While teams like Macclesfield, Bradford, Lincoln and Aldershot are getting better we’re getting considerably shaky and when you consider that we’ve played the same number of games as Barnet and face Bradford and Torquay in the next two games then you start to worry.

Gary Johnson arrived planning for next season already and maybe thought he would have time to fully assess his players. But now we are well and truly in a dog fight and if he doesn’t find out anything about his men now then he perhaps never will.

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