Oxford United 2-1 Northampton Town
Saturday, November 24th 2012
It had to end somewhere and unfortunately for the Cobblers, for this little spell anyway, the glory of a winning run came to an end at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford. The three sided arena was the setting for one of our most glorious triumphs in recent years back in the 2006 promotion run-in but as we began to hurtle towards an extraordinary leap to similar dreams we were cut off by a dodgy refereeing decision and a failure to hold on to a point.
Town thought they had earned what would have been a good draw late on when Clive Platt headed in a cross from former Oxford trainee Chris Hackett. That came at the end of a good spell of pressure from the Cobblers and you would forgive us for thinking that we could turn one point into three but it just wasn’t to be and we were caught out pretty much straight from the kick off.
The day just seemed destined to be Oxford’s. A terrible call in the opening fifteen minutes saw James Constable slot in the opener despite looking a long, long way offside and that set the tone. Platt’s equaliser came after some hard graft but just as quickly as we had got back into the game we were behind once more.
A long, high ball over the top was brought down by John-Paul Pittman who finished well and sealed a vital three points for his side. To make things worse, Clarke Carlisle was sent off for his second booking of the game in the final minute. Some news stories had it down as foul and abusive language, leading many to mock the chairman of the PFA before they knew anything about the simple facts of two bad challenges. Carlisle will now be out of the team again just as quickly as he returned to it.
The defeat didn’t feel like a disaster afterwards. Going into a break thanks to our lack of FA Cup action next weekend, there’s time to regroup and having won the previous three matches we are in a rare position of taking a defeat on the chin and being able to move on pretty quickly as December arrives with plenty of challenges, none less than the JPT Area Quarter Final at home to Leyton Orient in just over a week’s time and the following home league game against Cheltenham Town.
The league table still has us in good shape with some decent results happening in terms of our positioning so the Cobblers are still hanging on in there ahead of a busy Christmas period. We go into it with high hopes of catching those occupying the top seven and with relief that there’s sufficient points in the bag that, barring a complete disaster, would see us enjoying a comfortable Christmas of league table watching.
This was a bad one to lose the run on but when you’re on a run like we’d been on it’s more about how you recover than when you fall…