The Underhill curse is starting to be undone. A ground where memories of recent times have been dismal, damaging and unforgettable for all the wrong reasons was, this season at least, a ground where we picked up three points thanks to another resolute if not overpowering performance.
Picking up another win when the backs were against the wall for a large portion of the game is never a bad thing and winning and playing badly isn’t necessarily a bad thing – see the team of Ian Atkings circa 1997 for proof of that. Many times during that incredible season that so many of us look back on fondly did we battle to victories and there was never a sense that we would pass and move through games.
The difference between that side and the 2011 Cobblers outfit was the togetherness of the squad, the fans and even the staff. That still needs to be worked on with Gary Johnson still needing a fair few more victories and to show passion for our club before we get anywhere near a spirit that unites our great club anywhere near the class of ’97.
You could also argue, though, that there was a section of the Town support who weren’t behind Colin Calderwood in 2006 as we earned promotion at the third attempt under his guidance. There were evident, and ridiculously harsh, chants of ‘Colin out’ even during a game that we eventually won to go into the top three so perhaps love for the manager from the fans isn’t the be all and end all of a promotion winning side.
If we’re to be that then we need more of this throughout this season and whatever your thoughts on the current set up you had to smile at back to back wins that for the second week in a row had us eagerly anticipating the Saturday evening football viewing from the BBC.
The fact that we came from behind at Underhill is also important. After Ricky Holmes’ opener on the fifteen minute mark thanks to the Cobblers defence failing to properly clear the bar you could be forgiven for thinking that we were in for another long afternoon on the sloping pitch.
But Arron Davies began the turnaround just after half-time. With Adebayo Akinfenwa playing as the lone striker (new loan signing George Baldock started in midfield for his first Cobblers appearance) there was extra importance on Davies getting forward and he proved once again that he’s a vital cog in the Town system, converting after Bayo had flicked the ball on from a throw in to equalise.
The Cobblers had to soak up some pressure to keep on terms, as we did during last week’s similar 2-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge but for once when a goal went in a minute from time it was the Town fans celebrating. Ben Tozer lurked on the edge of the area and was found by Akinfenwa. Tozer powered the ball into the corner to seal the victory and lift us up to 14th in the table.
That sets us up nicely for the live Sky game with Crawley Town next Saturday with the early kick off meaning that we can make some ground on the top seven with a victory before the rest of the league play directly after us. We can go into that one with confidence now and it might play into our hands a bit more that we’re not expected to necessarily win as we were for these previous two games.
I know one thing and that’s that if one thing is going to finally lure Gary Johnson away from his place in the dugout it’s the sight of a ranting and irritating Steve Evans directing the Crawley traffic!