Ten man Cobblers gassed out at the Memorial

Bayo – consolation goal

Bristol Rovers 3-1 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, October 6th 2012

What started out as a positive and hopeful Cobblers performance on Saturday ended with more questions than answers in the on-going saga of the injured list 2012 and in the downward spiral that this result unfortunately puts our season into. The latter problem will only be solved by the plugging of the gaps for the former and that’s something that needs to be sorted as soon as possible by a Cobblers manager who will be ever busy and stressed in the coming week.

Aidy Boothroyd had problems in his squad before the trip to the Memorial Stadium and now there’s more bad news to go alongside this latest defeat, the second in the space of a few days. Danny East was hurt when bravely defending a deep cross in a busy second half and though it’s yet to be seen how long he’ll be out for it’s a worrying sign.

By that point in the match, everything was running away from the Cobblers. After a bright opening that saw Alex Nicholls miss a gilt edged chance to put us in front, Anthony Charles was sent off for what I thought was a soft foul on the onrushing Derek Riordan. Until that point we had been the better side and were even unlucky not to go into the break in front with ten men after Bayo Akinfenwa had a good chance with a header.

With a bright sun shining in the eyes of the Cobblers fans who, like us, had chosen the small terrace to view the match, it ended up being a second half that we’d be straining to see in more ways than one. Rovers came out and played exactly the way they needed to against ten men, flooding our midfield and coming forward at every opportunity.

The first goal wasn’t far in coming. After East had made his departure, replaced by striker Lewis Wilson at right back, Tom Eaves finished off a move that was far too easy for them to produce and pick apart Boothroyd’s men with.

Minutes later it was two and as good as game over as Gay Kenneth found space to put his side in complete control with another easy finish. The Cobblers were royally on the back foot and seemingly out of sight.

That was, until, Bayo produced almost a carbon copy of his goal on Tuesday night, nodding in Ben Tozer’s long throw to give the travelling contingent something to grab on to at least.

We weren’t holding on for long with Rovers finally killing us off thanks to a header from Oliver Norburn. That was that, we trudged off and were sent home as the first visiting side to lose at the Memorial Stadium this season.

Rovers deserved the win in that they did everything right after the break. Before that, they seemed to be playing too cautiously and perhaps nervously in front of a public that were wondering where that first home win was coming from. The Cobblers were playing some neat stuff but couldn’t cope with the numbers game in the second half and it’s back to the drawing board following a decent enough start to the season.

From here we have to get the wheels in motion for a new central midfielder and possibly even a right back with Danny East’s set back. It’s a tough job for Boothroyd with another busy week ahead – Town entertain his former club Colchester United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night and then host Exeter in the league on Saturday – and he needs to delve deep into his contact book.

As autumn begins to slowly make its way towards winter, we need to get back on track soon or face being lost in the abyss for a third season running.

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