Northampton Town 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Saturday, February 23rd 2013
By no means a classic, not a win that will go down in anyone’s memory banks and not even one where we come away thinking that we were 100% deserving of the victory. But that’s what good teams are built on in many ways, winning ugly and getting over the line, and something that that this Cobblers side have begun to, crucially, add to their armoury.
The home form that’s been the battalion of the charge into the playoff places has on occasions seen us tear down the opposition and even ease through some games to three more points. This one, a sixth Sixfields success on the bounce, wasn’t in that mould at all but still had the desired effect and lifts us into fourth place, just a point behind the impressive Burton Albion and five clear of eighth place Southend United.
That victory at Roots Hall last week becomes that bit more effective when you see it now and after a point on Tuesday night at Wimbledon this was the perfect way to end a pretty successful seven days.
The first half in particular had Plymouth threatening to scupper our hopes, though, as they set about their task of trying to pick up a win that could have taken them out of the bottom two. Former Cobblers loanee and perennial troubler in these parts, Guy Branston, missed a good chance with a header whilst Jason Banton saw his shot blocked by Kelvin Langmead.
It began to get more even in the second half with Town coming out seemingly with more about them. Roy O’Donovan headed wide and Chris Hackett forced Jake Cole into a routine save before substitute Bayo Akinfenwa burst into the box to force a fine save from the visiting keeper with a looping header. The Cobblers did, however, find the breakthrough from the corner that came from that chance.
A Ben Harding cross was swung in and Cole appeared to drop the ball under pressure from a number of bodies in the box and it fell into the net for the only goal of the game. Argyle were protesting of an infringement but on televised viewing this morning it looks very much like Cole’s own defenders that were in the way of his attempts to catch the ball.
From then on, Plymouth were battling to get back into the game and the Cobblers were looking good on the break with Jake Robinson missing a great chance for 2-0 when he rounded Cole only to chip over the bar from wide on the right.
That didn’t matter though and we had picked up another big three points at Fortress Sixfields. Plymouth will be disappointed not to leave with anything, particularly as they dropped to the foot of League Two because of the result. There is a long way to go in the races at both ends of the table and its anyone’s guess who will be leaving the division at either exit even with the games running out as they are.
There’s twelve to play and everything to play for…keep up this home form, keep grinding out these wins and the Cobblers will be in for a hell of a journey from here on in. Hang on to those hats…