Northampton Town 3-0 Exeter City
Saturday, October 13th 2012
The score line of this afternoon’s game shows a three goal difference between the Cobblers and Exeter and though it didn’t appear to be a ‘3-0 game’ it’s a welcome return to league form for Aidy Boothroyd’s men. The Grecians came to Sixfields with a record of four wins from five away from home but an all-round performance that’s been lacking so far this season was produced by Town in a game that saw a fine debut from Manchester City loanee Emyr Huws.
There were elements of good fortune about the victory with Exeter having good chances at key moments (before the first and third Cobblers goals to be exact) but overall Town deserved the three points. Exeter haven’t visited Sixfields in twelve years and won’t want to be hurrying back any time soon, particularly as their dismal run in the town was extended to eleven trips without a win.
After a good opening from the Cobblers, Exeter had a clear chance through John O’Flynn but after he put a shot wide of Lee Nicholl’s goal he was made to pay just a couple of minutes later as Bayo Akinfenwa continued his rich vein of form. The big man has picked up since being thrust back into the forward line in recent weeks and produced a moment of quality by bringing the ball down and volleying it home to put us in front and to net his sixth of the season.
The man taking centre stage, though, would be Huws with the midfielder turning it on in his first senior start, terrorising the City defence just before half time before producing a pin point cross onto the head of Kelvin Langmead. With Clive Platt returning to the starting line up to partner Bayo up front, there was perhaps a loss of concentration from the visitor’s defence as they focused too much on the obvious big men and missed the goal machine Cobblers captain!
2-0 going into the break then but I still held a few nerves thanks to some uneven performances from Town so far this season that’s sometimes seen us produce one good half per game.
But fortunately it wasn’t to be the usual fare of a nervy finish. Exeter came back into the game for the first twenty minutes or so and put pressure on Nicholls in the Cobblers goal. Two fine saves from Jamie Cureton later, though, and we were well on course.
After the second stop from the veteran front man, Town once again went up the other end to score with Langmead again picked out from a free kick, nodding the ball into the path of Alex Nicholls who notched his seventh of the season.
And that was that…a well fought out game that produced a top drawer result for the Cobblers. Exeter came to Town sitting pretty in fourth place in League Two but left with nothing, giving us a much needed confidence boost. It’s odd to think that we are only one point better off after twelve games than we were at this stage last season but it was a year ago when things really started to go sour.
With the current crop you just don’t get the idea that we’ll be losing game after game at any point over the season. We will, of course, get beat but there always appears to be that bit more belief within the squad and in the management team that fills you with confidence that we can pull out results like this on our day.
It’s Barnet next on Friday night and Cobblers law says that with the Bees without a win all season we’ll be the first to fall victim to them but if we can match the quality shown today there’s no reason why we can’t turn that on its head and pick up another three points and go into next weekend back in a prime position.
For now, it’s a job well done and a nice feeling to be back in the top half of League Two. We can enjoy that until the trip to Underhill, a fixture that usually provides some sort of talking point. With Edgar Davids teasing a return to action for the hosts that night we’ll hopefully be able to welcome him to League Two as only we can!
In other quick news, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Quarter Final draw paired us with Leyton Orient this morning which was pretty decent. Nothing against Orient but I would much prefer us to be playing a League One outfit at home than a League Two side anywhere based on the last couple of rounds and it’s a good chance to progress at least.
And speaking of cup draws, it’s the FA Cup First Round (Prop-ah!) draw next Saturday (20th) so with no game on that day for Town we can pencil that into our afternoons with plenty of potentially interesting pairings there.
I’ll hopefully be back in the week for a one off feature and then on Thursday/Friday morning with the Barnet preview…see you there!