If I ever utter the words ‘it can’t get much worse’ ever again in regard to the Cobblers then someone please shoot me. Those were the words being thrown around last week after the 7-2 defeat to Shrewsbury and despite this week bringing about a lesser hammering the fact that we were trounced by the Football League’s bottom club says a lot about where we are at the moment.
The players’ confidence is completely shot, no caretaker manager can work out how to utilise them and the short list for the new manager is likely to be getting shorter and shorter as days go by with some more than likely no fancying it after all. What is needed now is some sort of miracle worker. No longer are we thinking that these players need one or two minor tweaks, it’s full on change of attitude that’s needed.
Somehow, the likes of Bayo, Jake Robinson and Arrron Davies – players that you would expect to be plying their trade searching for a playoff spot at least – are instead scrapping for their league lives and collapsing against one of the teams that we should actually be getting something from.
No disrespect meant at all to Plymouth, who took advantage to full effect and who I still hope get out of the relegation zone themselves, but they’re bottom for a reason and even three loan signings brought in this week won’t have made that that much better that they suddenly produce a world beating performance. At the moment, we’re making every team in the league look like Barcelona and that only equals a relegation battle – a battle that we’re in once again thanks to some appalling decisions over the past few months, most made in the transfer market by one Mr Johnson.
There was a slight change of tack by caretaker number two, Tim Flowers, as he at least brought in a left back to play at left back in Ashley Corker but that only seemed to highlight the need for a speedy solution in that position.
We were the architects of our own downfall once again with John Johnson marking his return to the side in place of Kelvin Langmead in central defence with an early hand ball in the area to hand Plymouth the opening. Simon Walton converted the spot kick and so began ten of the most disastrous minutes you could expect.
Nick Chadwick, making another debut at Argyle after rejoining them this week, headed in number two after ten minutes and Will Atkinson made it three before we’d even reached twenty.
Shell shocked Town players had to try and recover from yet another crisis on the pitch but it was Sam Walker who was to be the busier of the keepers and there always looked like more on the horizon. Indeed we were four down by the break with loanee Ashley Hemmings getting on the end of a Chadwick pass to fire the bottom club into dream land.
It was stuff of nightmares for the Cobblers and damage limitation in the second.
You can’t go with the old ‘at least we won the second half bit’ after Bayo’s stoppage time consolation…that simply won’t suffice and whatever had happened in the second half simply barring a miracle wouldn’t have been enough to send the amazingly loyal Cobblers fans who made the long trip home more satisfied.
So what on earth no? There are many who are suggesting dropping Bayo but the fact is you have to play to his strengths. It’s not the big man’s fault that we’re playing balls in the air and we have to learn that he’s best with the ball in to his feet and not hoofed up in the air. Confidence is at all an time low and at least next Saturday we have a break from it all with the FA Cup Second Round taking place and the Cobblers, of course, already out.
David Cardoza will name his new boss within these two weeks with the break at least a good period for whoever comes in to assess what on earth is going wrong (i.e. everything). It’s an utter shambles at the moment and my usual positivity and clutching at straws attitude is even itself gone.
Just as there’s a moment when all alcoholics have to admit their plight we now surely have to stand up and say “Hi, we’re Northampton Town and we’re in a relegation battle.”