Gillingham were beaten just after Ipswich dumped us out but he damage was done. A pivotal 4-3 home reverse against Hereford at Sixfields in which the Cobblers led 3-0 at one point was the peak of our failings.
There was a brief resurgence with that Gillingham victory and a 2-0 win at Sincil Bank. That’s how backwards this season was, we actually won at Lincoln! Sweeping aside Forest Green in the cup and flogging Stve Guinan off there meant that things were looking up but then came another big moment – the 4-1 loss at Barnet that suddenly shoved us right back in the mire and undid a couple of weeks of impressive work that had also included a goalless draw with then high flyers Port Vale.
At least we would go into Christmas mildly happy after wins over Stockport and Stevenage but as the wintery weather played havoc with the schedule the momentum was lost. Victory over Crewe, incredibly 6-2, on a Tuesday night at the start of February did a similar job of Liverpool as making us feel unbeatable. For the next six games we were certainly that, but we were also a team that could not buy a victory.
Sammo’s sacking after game seven of this run, the 3-2 loss against Burton at Sixfields, was upsetting, and had it been for two of those draws coming good and turning into a win he may still be here now, such is the fine line in football.
Cue more bad times until the drama of the last couple of weeks at least made people stand up and take notice of what trouble we were in. Three consecutive 2-2 draws had us dangling nervously over the drop zone and Barnet were chomping away at any gap between us. Fans and players alike finally began to do battle and just at the right time, Stevenage were beaten to secure safety on Saturday.
While the excitement over the win is going to last a few more days, the summer is going to bring about a real shake up. Those out of contract will struggle to hold on to their Cobblers careers with Johnson planning a big turn around of players.
This could lead to the excuse next season that we would take time to gel with a whole new side almost. Unfortunately there can be few excuses and we have to hit the ground running so the work that Johnson does between now and the start of next season is absolutely pivotal.
We’re being promised that this dire season won’t be repeated but just because the powers that be say so it doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen.
So enjoy the final week of the season, be grateful that there’s nothing but league placing on Morecambe away and get set for a big summer of change at Sixfields.