Cup interest over as Town bow out of JPT

Northampton Town 0-3 Leyton Orient 

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Quarter Final

Wednesday, December 5th 2012

It was easy for many of us to say over the weekend that we weren’t interested in the FA Cup now that the Cobblers were out and revel in a ‘free weekend’ of inaction. But as the games started, the drama came thick and fast and I found myself longing for history to be rewritten and for Town to have actually won the penalty shoot-out at Bradford. That feeling was compounded by the atmosphere at the home of Saturday’s opponents Cheltenham Town on Monday night as they played out a tense draw with Hereford in front of the nation. I couldn’t help but feel utterly disappointed that we were out of the competition and quickly thought I should take back a tweet from just before the weekend where I mockingly said that the real place to be was in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy!

A few days later and the Cobblers are out of all cup competitions for another season, once again eliminated from everything before Christmas. There was a reasonable chance of Town reaching Wembley in the JPT so that made last night’s 3-0 defeat to League One Leyton Orient that bit more disappointing. I have a feeling that had we gone through we would have had a great shout of fighting past Oxford, Southend or Gary Johnson’s Yeovil for a place in the area final but it wasn’t to be.

Perhaps we expected too much having dumped out a string of League One opponents from this competition already. Orient, though, weren’t messing about and punished the Cobblers for missed opportunities to record their seventh straight win in all competitions. The fact that Aidy Boothroyd rested Town’s two key attacking presences in Bayo Akinfenwa and Chris Hackett from the start will grate on those who briefly dreamt of seeing the Cobblers at Wembley and it was one of their replacements, Louis Moult who could have put us in front going into half time.

As it was, Orient took control thanks to a controversial goal just before the hour mark. Emyr Huws was apparently fouled in the build-up but play went on and David Mooney finished off the move for 1-0. That was the turning point the visitors needed and Mooney made it two soon after with a header before a Michael Symes penalty compounded the misery and ended the tie as a contest with fifteen minutes to go.

That left the Cobblers to reflect on what might have been this weekend. After defeat to Oxford a couple of weeks ago it may actually have benefited us to play again and not have a long rest to wallow in it. We now must hope that the cobwebs have been swept away and that we’ll be firing on all cylinders again for a big game against Cheltenham on Saturday. Victory there would send a message to those above us that we’re not going away and would set us up nicely going into the festive fixture list.

While others play out cup competitions that we can only watch and dream about, we need League Two to become the place to make our names.

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