NTFC Season In Review 2010/2011…November and December

Following six defeats in a row, the season had finally got back on track with a win against Gillingham at the end of October and things would continue to turn in the right direction at the start of November. A trip to Lincoln is usually perilous for Cobblers teams but this season we got it right with a decent 2-0 victory at Sincil Bank in the first game of the month. Dean Beckwith scored his second in two games by following up a Billy McKay shot that had rattled the post. John Johnson, scorer at the same venue last season, notched the second and we had secured back to back wins for the first time in the season.

Another potentially tricky encounter came at Forest Green Rovers in the First Round of the FA Cup. Johnson struck again to open the scoring with a belter of a strike from distance. Just before half-time, transfer listed Steve Guinan made it two and Michael Jacobs sealed it by scoring with his first touch after replacing Paul Rodgers.

Port Vale were the visitors in the first home game of November and after Abdul Osman was sent off just before half-time it looked like an uphill struggle against a side going well in League Two. But we still made a fight of the game and earned a good point in a 0-0 draw.

All of that hard work would be undermined a week later though as one of the most disastrous games of the season was played out at Underhill. Barnet, struggling and bottom of the table, came from a goal down to destroy us 4-1 thanks to two goals from Steve Kabba, one from Grant Basey and a fourth from Ricky Holmes.

The following Tuesday night looked like it was going the same way as Rotherham stormed into a two goal lead at the Don Valley Stadium thanks to Ryan Taylor and Marcus Marshall. But in one of the more extraordinary first halves of the season, the Cobblers mounted an immediate fight back. Four minutes after Marshall’s goal, Abdul Osman made it 2-1 and incredibly just a minute later, Andy Holt was sent through by Ryan Gilligan to level the score. Leon McKenzie headed over as we came close to the full recovery but there were no more additions to the score line and we settled for a good point.

Sheffield Wednesday away was the reward for coming through in the FA Cup and that would be the last game of November. We put up a good fight against the League One giants but eventually went down 3-2 on one of the most famous grounds in the country. Back to the league and December would be a month ravaged by icy weather across the country. Some League Two sides didn’t play a single game in the month but the Cobblers did at least manage two matches.

The first, a home game against Stockport, earned three more points as Kevin Thornton opened the scoring with a finely taken goal, beating a couple of defenders before slotting the ball home on four minutes. Michael Jacob’s well taken strike eased the points home and we would go into a tricky looking game at Stevenage on a high.

Stevenage had been strong at home all season, only losing once at Broadhall Way. But the Cobblers battled to a massive win with Ryan Gilligan volleying in what turned out to be the winner early on. The hosts had Darius Charles sent off in the first few minutes of the second half but still provided a strong resistance and could easily have got something from the game. But 2010 would end with a good run of form, barring the Barnet result, and we would end the year in mid-table with a four point gap between ourselves and the playoff places.

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