Northampton Town 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday, July 30th 2011
It’s looking like becoming another one of those unpredictable seasons for the Cobblers if this pre-season is anything at all to go on. The worrying defeat and more important lack of enthusiasm on Tuesday night at Cambridge was finally put to bed on Saturday as we at least finished the summer with a positive, a 2-1 victory over Wycombe Wanderers at Sixfields.
Wycombe were promoted last season and will be looking to keep their heads above water in League One next season and despite a narrow defeat at Sixfields showed glimpses of quality that should stand them in good stead for the coming nine months. It was to be the final chance for the Cobblers to impress and nullify the doom mongers that were, very much prematurely, circling around before this game.
The sight of Ashley Westwood on the Cobblers bench would only have fuelled those people’s fires with the defender seemingly given a chance to impress Gary Johnson in the hope of a return to Sixfields full time. I’m split on this one – though he has certain experience at this level you would have thought that there are better options out there for a backup defender. One of those options would line up for the visitors in fact, another far more popular ex Cobbler in Chris Doig. It at least shows that Johnson has seen where some of the problems could lie and it remains to be seen Westwood will be granted a deal and if so what length it would be.
At the other end, Shaun Harrad will miss the start of the season so it was even more important for Jake Robinson and big Bayo to click and get their partnership going again. But it was Wycombe who took the deserved lead when Gareth Ainsworth cut in and finished well from the right hand side. Ainsworth rolled back the years last season to held Wanderers to promotion and he’s showing little signs of letting up just yet.
The Cobblers levelled quickly though with Bayo doing well to set up Ben Tozer who finished first time to net for the first time since that belter at Morecambe on the final day of the season. In an entertaining game, Bayo nearly put the Cobblers in front while Sam Walker had to be equal to John Hall’s effort.
Michael Jacobs was impressing again and shot over with a free kick after Nikki Bull had earlier saved a drilled shot from the youngster. The Wycombe keeper was replaced at half-time but his replacement would eventually gift us the victory. Nick McKoy had just replaced Bayo in an unfamiliar striking position and after a mix up from a Lewis Young cross, tapped in to seal it. It was slightly harsh on substitute keeper Steve Arnold who had earlier saved well from John Johnson and Robinson.
So the pre-season is over and we now look firmly ahead to Saturday when it all begins again. There’s no more friendlies, no more worrying over defeats to non-league teams and no more warm ups. It’s the real thing and we now face nine months of stress, anxiety and drama once again. It’s why we love the game and I for one cannot wait!