Pride. Passion. Effort. Three vital things missing from the opening few months of this torrid season that were restored this afternoon as the Cobblers well and truly began a new era under Aidy Boothroyd. While all three points weren’t collected from the pot we also avoided defeat on an afternoon that saw reputations begin to be rebuilt and a manager taking charge in exactly the right manner.
First there were squad cuts and a new formation to take in. Ashley Westwood and Chris Arthur had their short term deals cut short before the weekend and in a new look 4-3-3 line-up Andy Holt returned to slot in at left back. Ben Tozer dropped back to centre back with John Johnson acting as a holding midfielder in a bid to let Michael Jacobs and Arron Davies push on. A front three of Bayo, Berahino and Robinson looked threatening and immediately it appeared to make us look more menacing coming forward.
What we needed though was passion and commitment to the cause and that’s the key when trawling through comments this evening. There was a complete change of attitude from the off with the Cobblers pressing further up the pitch and chasing balls down. It sounds so simple to say it but pressing up the pitch stops attacks and hence stops the defensive pressure we’ve invited in previous weeks. The fact that the whole team wanted to pile on the pressure all over the pitch was step number one no matter what the end result.
Bayo’s header in the first half has us in front and it looked like the dream start for Boothroyd as he led his first half-time team talk as Cobblers boss with his new charges in front. Crewe were to come out aiming to spoil the party though and nicked a deserved equaliser based on their second half showing through Byron Moore.
Kelvin Langmead smacked the bar with a header soon afterwards but you get the feeling that it would have been harsh on Crewe had that flew in. Langmead was sent off for a second booking in stoppage time but there was no time for that to have any other effect other than to keep the Posh loanee out of next weekend’s trip to Oxford United.
So a slight drop in the second half but the key sentence coming out of today was ‘something to build on’ with a decent point against a good footballing team in Crewe meaning that the Boothroyd era kicked off on a mostly positive note. Normality was key and every single Cobblers fan breathed a huge sigh of relief this evening as a straight forward draw played in the right spirit was rounded off by a normal manager talking football in a normal way. After the unbelievable scenes of the past few weeks, a solid draw was more than enough!