Riding on the waves of optimism

Boothroyd…three wins in a row!

Northampton Town 3-0 Morecambe

League Two

Tuesday, November 20th 2012

I could get used to this! It was a third win on the bounce for the Cobblers last night and an ever growing optimism and hope around the club. There was another goal for Bayo Akinfenwa, a clean sheet ‘re-debut’ for Clarke Carlisle along-side the ever consistent Kelvin Langmead at the back and three more big points to lift us up to ninth place in League Two. It means we’re just a point off the playoff positions and three from the automatic promotion places.

I’ve started to actually get into that dangerous area of believing that this squad has the look of a consistent, solid and promotion challenging group. To speak those words shocks me but when you look at past promoted sides that we’ve fielded it’s hard not to draw comparisons. In Lee Nicholls we have arguably one of, if not the, best keeper in the division, in Langmead and Carlisle there’s a centre back pairing that understand each other and work brilliantly together, in Chris Hackett there’s excitement and drive that’s been missing so badly and in Bayo Akinfenwa we have a genuine goal threat who should reach that rare goal of a Cobblers forward of the twenty goal season.

Trying to calm this November surge of excitement is difficult but for Cobblers fans we have to enjoy it and take it in. Two years of dismal football, scrappy performances and loan players that just don’t have what it takes for a League Two battle is likely to bring anyone down so when we hit a sudden run of form we should embrace it and ride on it, encourage Sixfields to be filled and show this division what Northampton Town can be.

To prosper, it’s essential to fight past sides like Morecambe, a strong unit and one that’s difficult to break down. The first half last night proved that their resolve in so nearly taking a point from leaders Gillingham on Saturday was no fluke. Kevin Ellison hit a post with Chris Hackett’s free kick at the other end our only response.

On the hour mark, though, the resolve was broken and it was a recurring theme of a goal that gave us the lead. “Ben Tozer’s throw was headed in by Bayo Akinfenwa” must be the most used phrase of all League Two goals this season with the combination once again coming to fruition as the big man scored his thirteenth of the season and seventh in four league game. Bayo’s on absolute fire at the moment and is surely in line for at least a nomination for League Two Player of the Month for November.

That goal opened the floodgates and Tozer again took his chance a few minutes later by whipping in another big throw that was unluckily headed into his own net by Ellison who had earlier gone so close when attacking the same goal in the first half. Bayo was removed with twenty minutes to go in a wise move – he needs to be kept under wraps in these busy times and with a big game at Oxford coming on Saturday. Clive Platt, contrary to some Town fans’ belief, is a solid replacement at that stage of a match with his hold up play alone enough to help see out a match.

In the event, it was the Cobblers who would add to the score line late on as the visitor’s efforts fizzled out. Louis Moult, brought off the bench for the closing stages, had the ball in the net but the referee had already blown for a free kick. No matter though, Ishmel Demontagnac stepped up and curled the ball in to cap another terrific night for the Cobblers.

That’s thirteen goals in four games in the last week and a bit for Town and the first time that we’ve put together a winning sequence of three in the league since March. Back then it was all about catching up with the pack of teams above us to survive in League Two –this latest run means that the group we’re fighting to keep up with are those involved the promotion race.

I don’t know about you but that gives me a spring in my step until Saturday. It’s perfect timing for Oxford away and the Cobblers playing in front of what would have been our biggest away following of the season even before this recent run. I’m desperate for this bubble to keep on floating towards unheard of territory for the last couple of seasons and if this group of players continues like this we hopefully won’t be hearing much popping any time soon!

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