Northampton Town 1-1 Bradford City
FA Cup First Round
Saturday, November 3rd 2012
I think the phrase on many of our lips on Sunday morning was “at least we’re still in the hat”. And whilst Trevor Brooking’s top hat may not actually be the prop that hands us the big news of the draw for the next round it’s still nice to be in the pot/machine thing that’s used these days. The prize for the winner of what will be the third meeting between the Cobblers and Bradford City within three weeks is a home tie with League One Brentford. That’s the eighth home draw in a row in all competitions by my calculations and one that could still provide a big step up to the Third Round.
The Bantams have proved, though, that they’re one of the toughest nuts to crack in all of League Two and to come through a replay at Valley Parade will arguably be more difficult than the assignment that would follow with a mid-table League One side facing all the nerves and pressure that has made MK Dons and Colchester leave empty handed from Sixfields in the Johnstones Paint Trophy this season.
Not that the trophy holds much of a torch to this grand old cup competition. It’s frustrating sometimes when you get drawn against a team from your own league because you lose the magic of either causing an upset or having to overcome one whilst occasionally looking at your map of England to find out where on earth Forest Green or Canvey Island are.
This was a big test and one that Town did well to come out of with a second bit of the cherry, Chief tormentor Nahki Wells was on the bench so it was left to Will Atkinson to hand his side the lead in the first half with a well taken strike past the helpless Shane Higgs, making his return to goal after his latest injury set back.
At the other end, filling in for Alex Nicholls is Louis Moult and there’s now a big weight on his shoulders that he seems to be carrying very well indeed. Moult is a similar player to Alex Nicholls and provides such similar tools that it will hopefully mean he can pick up where his unfortunate team mate left off. He was once again well placed to net his second goal in two games in the second half to pull Town right back into proceedings with a header that beat former Cobblers loanee Matt Duke. Duke was on fine form on his return to Sixfields and prevented a good number of chances from being converted, following on from his match winning performance in the League Cup at Wigan last Tuesday night.
The rest of the game seemed fairly even and Bradford now have home advantage for a replay that neither club really needed with the injury problems that we’re both facing. In better news on that front, though, Chris Hackett and John Johnson both returned in this one and could well start again on Tuesday night in another tricky outing, this time at York City.
It’s straight back to the league after this aside into the cup then and a solid result is needed at Bootham Crescent to make all the hard work of the Port Vale game seem that bit more worthwhile. It’ll be an autumn and winter period that won’t always go our way but the youngsters being trusted with that claret shirt need our full support as we hit a pivotal section of the season. Keep our heads above water and we can have another look at things come January when there could be one or two further movements in the transfer market.
With two games before the replay from this one there’s got to be full focus back on the league form with Tuesday night’s trek to York followed by another long journey up to Accrington on Saturday so if we can pick up four points from the two I’ll be a very happy man.
I’ll be happy this week anyway as I’m away on holiday so expect minimal blogging on those two games (“No more expectations than usual then” I hear you cry, my one reader!) but I might flitter in with my thoughts on here and on Twitter (@dannybrothers).
Here’s to a good week!