Christmas cheer!

Robinson...opening goal

Robinson…opening goal

Northampton Town 2-0 Aldershot Town

League Two

Saturday, December 22nd 2012

Ninth place and a point from the playoffs as we head into Christmas is a position a lot of would have taken when the season kicked off in August. After a solid home win over Aldershot Town on Saturday that’s the reality and despite most teams now having a game extra in hand it’s a great position to be hitting the second half of the campaign with.

I said after last week’s draw with Torquay United that scraping results like that were key to any good season and the same is true about this one, a scrappy contest but one that produced two well taken goals and a clean sheet to boot. Town fans will be more than happy with that as Aidy Boothroyd prepares his side for the next obstacles of Christmas, two away games at AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham.

Saturday’s pre-season talk was how we would cope with Bayo Akinfenwa with Ishmel Deontagnac taking his place in the attack and Clive Platt leading the line. Platt would get his moment after a tight first half, made difficult for both sides by the treacherous weather. Based on that, the Sixfields ground staff deserve a lot of credit for getting the game on – only five others went ahead in Leagues One and Two.

The second half began with Jake Robinson on for Demontagnac and he made the most immediate of impacts. Robinson raced through onto a Ben Tozer through ball, his heavy touch fortunately catching in the wet pitch, and finished calmly to give the Cobblers the lead.

It wasn’t to be an easy ride to the finish, though, with the Shots fighting their way back and creating a couple of big chances through Danny Hylton and Dani Lopez that on another day could have brought them right back into the game. Lee Nicholls was in top form to deny Lopez, proving again why his extended loan spell will be crucial to the rest of this season.

Town needed a second and it eventually came through Platt who produced a fine lob went sent through on goal to send relief rushing around Sixfields and Christmas cheer spreading through the departing claret faithful.

So it’s a case of “so far, so good” as we reach the half way mark of the League Two season. I was seriously concerned about us a year ago with a Boxing Day defeat at home to Burton Albion leaving us staring into the abyss but now there’s genuine hope of a run towards the top seven so full credit must go to the squad and management for giving us that hope and for turning around not just the form but the mood around the club.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and here’s to more positive blog posts in the coming months, starting with Boxing Day! Stay safe kids, drive carefully and enjoy all that Christmas brings J

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