Back to the drawing board again then after a home defeat that brought back worrying memories of score lines from last season. There was a decent fight back thrown in but the reversal that mattered came from the visitors as Cheltenham put in an excellent away performance to take home their second victory of the season and leave us back in the familiar territory of the bottom half of the table.
That it was substitute and former Cobbler Josh Low that sealed the win after coming from the bench rubbed further salt into the wounds of home fans already irate at a poor show of officiating from the man in black. Low made the most of a counter attacking Robins, breaking away to finish well from inside the area in the closing stages of the game for the winner on his old stomping ground but it was the man in the middle on the minds of the Cobblers faithful early on, handing Low’s side the advantage with a highly debated spot kick.
Kelvin Langmead, drafted into defence in place of Ashley Westwood, was apparently fouled himself by Darryl Duffy but Mr Heywood pointed the spot and booked Langmead instead. Duffy duly obliged from the spot to put Cheltenham into the lead.
We were level by half time when Arron Davies latched onto a Bayo knock down and the tide was completely turned when Akinfenwa headed in for his second in a week following his strike at Bristol Rovers. Ultimately, though, the big man would again be on the losing side after scoring with a never say die visiting team levelling things once again with a quarter of the game to go. Low was the provider with a cross that Duffy met well to make it 2-2 and it was game on again, all set for Low to take centre stage.
The disappointing and deflating end to the game came about following a couple of decent attacks from the Cobblers but there was no way back. There was also no real complaints about the score line, the anger at the referee turning into an anger that we couldn’t see out the winning position. That complaint was rife last season and we need to get out of the habit very quickly.
Wolves on Tuesday night is a big distraction and we’ll once again be underdogs and could possibly cause another upset but the bigger game is next Saturday’s meeting with Morecambe back in League Two. Failure to win that one and we’ll be playing catch up again despite having played only five games. One you get to ten games there can already be a massive gap developing and we can’t afford to fall into that trap again.
It will take time for us to get going but that can’t be used as an excuse. There’s plenty of other teams fielding just as many newbies as we are and they’re doing well for themselves so the mentality just needs working on, particularly in finishing out matches like this one. It’s strange how a week ago I was talking up how we’d done just that at Aldershot but now after 0 points from a possible 6 we’re back to nervousness again.
If anyone out there can magic us three points from next Saturday in exchange for a Carling Cup win on Tuesday then please contact me via the usual methods. I’d be very appreciative!