Northampton Town 3-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday, November 17th 2012
It’s getting harder and harder to hold down expectations and excitement. I know this mini unbeaten run in the league is only just four games old but for the Cobblers to have come up with a run of three wins and a draw as well as taking technically matching Bradford over two games it’s a welcome sign of positivity. For the Town faithful, starved of any such consistency for a while now, it’s hard not to get carried away and actually start looking up League Two rather than worrying about what’s lurking behind.
The run of form has strangely coincided with Alex Nicholls’ horror injury against Port Vale with Bayo Akinfenwa filling the void of the top scorer. Nicholls was at this game, receiving the Player of the Month award and a guard of honour in a nice touch by the Cobblers players before kick-off. What he saw would have gone a long way to convincing him that when he does eventually return he will be coming back to a team rid of all relegation battles from previous years.
Wycombe made more of a game of this than the score line suggests but ultimately it was the Cobblers who were more clinical in front of goal, Bayo heading in his eleventh of the campaign and beating two defenders to the ball to put us in front in a tight first half.
The visitors were determined not to let us have things our own way, though, and Dean Morgan sent a warning shot against the post as Gareth Ainsworth’s men came out all guns blazing after the break. But when Town substitute Clive Platt was felled in the area on the hour mark the Chairboys’ resistance would begin to unravel. Bayo stepped up for number twelve of the season, mildly upsetting Jake Robinson who had belted in a wonder goal just after the whistle had blown for the penalty!
A few minutes later and it was three with Chris Hackett racing down the right and smashing in a fantastic goal into the top corner.
It was slightly harsh on Wycombe, who did pull a goal back through a Joel Grant penalty with twenty minutes to go to leave us sitting a bit nervously but Town had done enough. Bayo hit the bar as he looked for a second hat-trick in a week but was eventually denied that hope by being brought off for youngster David Mayo.
The big man had left his mark for the second week in a row. That’s five goals in two league games and now should be the time when we’re looking at offering him a new deal. It’s almost unthinkable that he came close to leaving in August. A few thought we would be OK if he did happen to leave but since then he’s proven once again what a vital cog he is in our system. With the team around him playing well in addition to his personal performances there’s a chance that we can actually make the biggest step up and challenge for the top seven.
Premature that may be but we seem to have hit a real wave of form. Morecambe will bring a great challenge to that on Tuesday night…a proper ‘League Two’ outfit as they are will be a big test, especially after they took leaders Gillingham all the way at the weekend before losing out in stoppage time.
With reduced prices for that one, there’s a chance of a high crowd and we really need to make another statement of intent before the Christmas season hits.
It’s a great feeling to have to be back on the winning trail and long may it continue! (Here’s to no kisses of deaths before Tuesday night)