>Wycombe Wanderers 2-2 Northampton Town
Saturday, April 16th 2011
A point before this game, had it been offered, would have been gratefully received by all connected with the Cobblers but having been two goals to the good against a promotion chasing Wycombe Wanderers you can’t help but be shattered by a late equaliser that turned three points into one. The efforts, however, along with the positive energy coming from the Cobblers fans en route to Adams Park means that it was a pivotal moment in the season.
Attitudes on the road from the hearty and vocal Cobblers support are always going to be right behind the team and in the current plight it’s perhaps away from the boo boys that are sometimes present at Sixfields where we’ll pick up the points needed for survival.
We’re, of course, not over the line yet and with Burton Albion picking up a big victory over Cheltenham Town today we will drop down a place should the Brewers get a result at Bradford on Tuesday night. Barnet, beaten at Bury, are now three points away and with the Cobblers boasting a better goal difference we’ll all sleep a little easier this Saturday night than last.
Steve Collis came in for this one and should be in between the sticks for most of the remaining games this season after Chris Dunn’s injury last week. Dean Beckwith returned in defence whilst Paul Rodgers came in on the right hand side of midfield. Michael Jacobs also started after recovering fully from illness.
Against a side battling to gather enough points for a swift return to League One, it was expected to be a backs to the wall experience but the Cobblers came storming out of the traps and were rewarded with a twentieth minute penalty after Rodgers was fouled. Shaun Harrad stepped up and converted for his fifth goal in Town colours and suddenly there was hope of an extraordinary result to drag us out of the mire.
Guillem Bauza was impressing alongside Harrad and after sending a header into the side netting, incredibly made it 2-0 ten minutes before half time. Josh Walker played the Spanish striker in and he fired in a sweet left footed effort that beat in form Wycombe keeper Nikki Bull. Bull pulled off a good save a few minutes later to deny Bauza again and we didn’t want the break to come when it did such was the momentum.
Harrad and Bauza are becoming the key to our survival and it was Harrad again just after half time that tested Bull with a close range effort that could have ended the game as a contest. But it was Wycombe who, crucially, scored the next goal and that would be the boost they needed to battle back from two goals down for the second week in a row.
Scott Donnelly coolly made it 2-1 on the hour to set up the most nervous of endings but for the Cobblers it just wasn’t to be and despite a gutsy effort including a couple of outstanding stops from Collis that eased Town fans’ minds about him taking Dunn’s place for the next few games we would end up taking home just one point from the game. With eight minutes to play, Leon Johnson rose highest from a corner to head home the leveller and end the hopes of a major upset.
The Cobblers could still have won it in a frantic finale when a break away ended with Abdul Osman scuffed a shot perhaps out of panic more than anything and we ended the game continuing this run of what is now sixteen games without a win.
But what came from this game could yet be the rejuvenation that the Cobblers need and we could do with a bumper crowd on Good Friday when Rotherham United are the visitors. A club that are going through changes of their own and ending the season far less impressively than they started are certainly not as big a threat as they once were and if we can create an ounce of an atmosphere with positive support at Sixfields then we have a chance of getting that illusive win that would mean so much.
If anyone doubted that the spirit and togetherness of this Cobblers squad was drained then this afternoon’s events were a very welcome surprise!