And so another up and down month has passed, meaning that it’s time for another monthly review. I can hear the joy in all your voices! I’ll be looking back on everything that’s happened between November 14th and December 14th (From the home game with Wycombe through to last weekend’s defeat by Cheltenham Town)
The results during this time were:
Wycombe (H) 3-1, Morecambe (H) 3-0, Oxford (a) 1-2, Leyton Orient (H) 0-3, Cheltenham (H) 2-3
P:5 , W:2, D:0,L: 3
This isn’t meant as a match by match run down but more of a reflection of what’s gone well and where we need to improve. Here goes for this month…
What’s gone well?
Goals! – Nine goals in four league games continued a fine run of form in an attacking sense with a sequence going back to mid-October since we failed to net in the league. The form of Bayo Akinfenwa and the added help from the likes of Chris Hackett and even Clive Platt have kept the ‘goals scored’ column looking very healthy indeed. Considering the goal difference at this point last season was -16 (at the moment we stand on +4) it represents a solid turn around.
Tozer’s long throw – Ben Tozer’s contributions aren’t all about his long throws despite some fans’ thoughts to the contrary but his lethal weapon has provided goal after goal this season with another three scored from this method this month. Teams will hopefully not wise up to it too much in the second half of the season but even if they do it’s immensely hard to defend.
Bayo – Four more goals in four league games and the big man has earned himself a nomination into the League Two Player of the month award for November. Akinfenwa continues to keep that goals tally ticking over and we must keep him fit if we’re to stand any chance of challenging the top half of the table.
The return of Clarke Carlisle – Despite the red card at Oxford, Carlisle’s presence will be needed in the coming months and his experience is an asset that we were lacking up until the point of his return. A clean sheet in his first match was followed by red in his second and three conceded in his third so consistency is needed if he’s to prove to be a top end signing for the second year running.
What’s not gone so well?
Goals – Goals against this time! Eight in three games is cause for concern and some of the goals we’re conceding have come about through big holes at the back. Messrs Carlisle and Langmead need a good run of games to get back into the type of form that we expect of them and hopefully that happens over Christmas and into the New Year.
Cup elimination – Once again the Cobblers are out of all cup competitions before Christmas. We at least gave the JPT a good go this year before going out to Leyton Orient last week but it’s back to ‘concentrating on the league’ again as the winter hits.
The end of the run – The excellent form that took us through the end of October and into November is now well and truly over and three defeats have quickly tampered any hopes of entering into the playoff race pre-Christmas.
How can we improve?
It’s a massive time of the year coming up but there are some ‘winnable’ games in the mix, particularly at home. Sixfields was becoming a bit of a fortress before Cheltenham’s visit on Saturday so that needs to return for the visits of Aldershot, Dagenham and Fleetwood. We need to learn lessons from the Cheltenham game that not every side will roll over once they go a couple of goals behind whilst also remembering what good players we have in games in which we fall behind. We’re not far away and little tweaks will mean that it’ll be a happy festive period.
Goal of the month
This goes to Ishmel Demontagnac this month for his later free kick against Morecambe. Already 2-0 up, it was set up for a ‘cherry on the cake’ moment and Demontagnac provided just that with a sweet left footed curler to seal an impressive win.
August 14th – September 14th: Jake Robinson (v MK Dons – JPT First Round)
September 14th-October 14th: Alex Nicholls (v Burton Albion- League Two)
October 14th-November 14th: Bayo Akinfenwa (v Accrington – League Two)
Player of the Month
Akinfenwa has had another solid month and the support from Chris Hackett has also been top draw. I was going to give it to Hackett to avoid being boring and naming Bayo three times in a row but picking up the League Two Player of the Month for November tips it in the big man’s favour.
August 14th – September 14th: Alex Nicholls
September 14th – October 14th: Bayo Akinfenwa
October 14th – November 14th: Bayo Akinfenwa
It’s been a tough month to judge with some great results followed by some poor ones so it’s getting mixed reviews from me. We looked unstoppable going into the Oxford game and had we held out for a point there then things may have been different. As it was, Orient and Cheltenham stunned us in different way at Sixfields in the following games and left us with plenty to do again. 7/10
August 14th – September 14th: 8/10
September 14th – October 14th: 7/10
October 14th– November 14th: 8/10