A clean sheet, superb support, three goals and a performance with ten men that stunned the hosts. Everything we could possibly have wished for from this game came true barring the upcoming suspension for Nick McKoy, sent off for the second successive appearance just before half time.
But everything else was the perfect tonic for a troublesome week at the club and maybe we can finally start looking forwards at a chance of a brighter campaign rather than be caught in the dismal rumours and anger of the opening month. It’s not the be all and end all of the season and certainly not the end of the problems but the score line of 3-0 having gone down to ten men away from home was almost unbelievable to read after recent struggles. It also goes a long way to putting recent draws at Southend and at home to Torquay in a much better light than they would have looked had we lost at Kingsmeadow.
There was a new face in the starting line-up with the signing of striker Marlon Jackson announced just before kick-off and he lined up alongside Bayo. Jackson would have an almost immediate impact as he was brought down by home keeper Seb Brown on the corner of the area to win a penalty that Bayo duly converted for an excellent start.
That was a third of the way through the first half and we would need to sustain a bit of Wimbledon pressure before the break with Kieron Djilali testing Sam Walker in one of their better early efforts on goal. Plenty of chances at both ends followed and Paul Turnbull was unlucky not to put the Cobblers further in front as Lewis Young provided a pin point cross that the former Stockport man headed just wide. Jack Midson volleyed in a decent strike that Walker was equal to and Bayo rattled the bar at the other end in a frantic close to the half, at the end of which McKoy’s red card meant that we were looking at a tricky second 45.
The Cobblers faced some inevitable pressure at the start of the second half but slowly the ten men came back into things and after Michael Jacobs had a free kick well saved by Brown, the midfielder did double our lead with a mistake from the Wombles keeper, letting his shot creep through his legs.
Jacobs’ second of the game gave Brown no chance though as he made it three with a finely struck shot into the corner. 3-0 up with ten men just didn’t feel like something we do. Keeping a clean sheet in these circumstances was one thing but going on to score two more times is mightily impressive given the uncertainty of previous weeks.
It was resolute, strong and clinical and that needs to be taken north to Macclesfield this weekend in another tricky encounter but one that we have every reason to think we can win. That’s followed by Dagenham at home on Tuesday night so by this time next week we could have erased some of the early season gloom and might actually be talking positively again. Onwards and upwards!