If it wasn’t for a group of friends and family, collected together to celebrate my stag wekeend this would have been one of the most depressing days I’ve ever had in all my years of supporting the Cobblers. The hope that the team would put on a show for any potential managers watching from the stands was wiped away within 45 minutes and the liklihood is that many of those watching who are in line for the job could have ruled themselves out based on this horror show!
It was truly abysmal, particularly at the back where the combination of Ashley Westwood and Kelvin Langmead along with the out of position Ben Tozer at right back were completely bereft of pace against a Shrewsbury side who were licking their lips at every single attack. Somebody needs to put it in their heads that sticking your hands up Tony Adams style and appealing for offside just does not work. The man to tell them is without doubt not going to be David Lee who I expect to be shown the door very soon after a performance all too like the days of the departed Gary Johnson.
I honestly don’t know where to start so I’ll lead with the light hearted events that made the day so much more bearable. Like I mentioned, this was my stag weekend so I invited a group of friends and family along to share one of the biggest components of my life. I could not have picked a worse game but at least being dressed up as a white wizard/Gandalf fully equipped with white wig and beard made the day that bit more comical. The look on the face of the turnstile operator as we went in was superb and there were more than a few odd looks as we made our way to our seats.
The line-up was always going to be the key talking point to start with and the welcome inclusion of Tadhg Purcell was good to see with the unfortunate striker given a chance on the bench. Jason Crowe made his home re-debut at left back and was the only member of the back four to come away with any sort of credit.
So to the match (if we have to!) and from the off it was clear that Shrewbury weren’t messing about and were ready to stand up to the possibilities of a Cobblers side wanting to prove a point. They really needn’t have worried.
It was painful to watch at times as the sheer gulf in class between the two sides in terms of organisation and application was pretty scary. Mark Wright opened the scoring on fifteen minutes with a wickedly deflected shot that crept past Sam Walker and with the Cobblers struggling to put a couple of passes together it was looking like being a long afternoon. We looked decent enough when playing the ball on the floor but as soon as it was in the air there was simply no direction or purpose.
Wright would again strike five minutes before the break with the latest in a long line of defensive errors resulting in the second goal. It would get worse before half-time as well with Terry Gornell making it three. If David Lee wanted the job at this point then he had to do something very special!
There was a period after half-time when you thought maybe something was still there for us. Tozer rifled in a free kick low into the corner to briefly spark excitement inside Sixfields. You got the sense that we could somehow fight back, that as illoigical as it seems we may just pull something out the bag. But after a couple of half-chances, Saido Berahino had the best opportunity, connecting with a cross to fire in low but when the ball fell into the the kepers’ hands it was the beginning of the end of those hopes.
Sam Walker made a fine save to keep us in it for the time being but as the game closed out you were left feeling sorry for him as Shrewsbury pressed and pressed for the ultimate humiliation of the final score. Marvin Morgan danced through to end the game as a contest with ten minutes to go before Bayo nicked one back. That’s 4-2 if you’re counting. Shrewsbury sub James Collins broke free to make it 5-2 before two goals in stoppage time put the icing on the bitterest cake we’ve had to swallow in many a year. Joe Jacobson hit the first with Morgan wrapping things up with number seven and so finished off the worst ever Cobblers reverse at Sixfields.
To brighten the mood, my outfit changed to a Father Ted costume just after the full time whistle. It was apt apparal and I could have easily been mistaken for a priest about to read the last rites to the club on the pitch! It would later get worse as I was made to wear a Super Girl (yes, GIRL) costume complete with long blonde wig, cape and skirt. After what had happened at Sixfields, though, nothing my good friends could have done to me could have been half as embarressing as the show on the pitch.
It’s now a question of who is brave enough to keep themselves in the running for this job. The task that David Cardoza is faced with is daunting to say the least with the next appointment perhaps one of the most important in our history given what is hanging over us. One man who definitely ruled himself out, though not in his own words, was David Lee whose post match interview was rude and disrespectful to the Radio Northampton interviewer – something that turned an already angry public even more against him and it would be remarkable if he was still here when the new man is eventually appointed.
The supporters of this football club, though, will soldier on as we’ve always done and you have to admire the character of the natives. We, as supporters who have been through so much, will forever be there and they at least always provide you with some pride when you walk away from games no matter who the manager.
It’s a massive job ahead and we now need a brave leader to come and turn this ship around before we sink even further into the abyss.