It’s back to losing ways this week for the Cobblers as Port Vale left Sixfields with all three points to further ignite their ever more impressive rise back towards the playoffs. Following up two massively important home wins with a third was always looking like a tough ask before the game for the Cobblers but coming up against an up for it visiting side that weren’t ever going to lie down meant that the task for Aidy Boothroyd’s Cobblers was a lot steeper.
From all reports we simply weren’t at the races and while Vale are at a higher level than the likes of Wimbledon and Macclesfield Town, recently felled at Sixfields, we still need to be concentrating and working harder if we’re to be convinced that come May we won’t be fighting for our lives once again.
From the moment John McCombe nodded in the opener it always felt like Town would be in trouble and Matt Duke was under high levels of pressure early on either side of the goal. It took until the thirty seventh minute for us to conjure a decent opening with Luke Guttridge volleying wide but that was as good as it got for a subdued Cobblers outfit.
We had a massive task to get back on terms and when Sean Rigg doubled the arrears on the hour mark it looked like game over despite there being a healthy period of time left. It was only then that the Cobblers woke up and with the substitution of Ben Tozer for Toni Silva, suring up the midfield battle, we finally looked like competing.
Bayo Akinfenwa got on the end of a Jake Robinson cross to make it 2-1 and suddenly there was some sense of urgency and hope. That was Bayo’s eleventh of the season and fiftieth for the club – a milestone that might be forgotten thanks to the lack of an equaliser late on.
With five of the bottom six picking up a point there’s a massive emphasis on Tuesday’s league programme when the Cobblers don’t play but Barnet and Bradford (against each other), Hereford (at Gillingham), Plymouth and Macclesfield (another relegation six pointer) and Dagenham (at Morecambe) all do. We can only watch and hope that things go our way because there’s a massively tough game at Cheltenham to come for Town this Saturday.
I’ve got a feeling that these nerves aren’t going anywhere yet!