Saturday, February 2nd 2013
The season is about to hit the final furlong. Just ten games will remain after the Cobblers complete their trip to St. James Park and Exeter City this afternoon and the only guarantee is that we’ll still at least be in a playoff place when the final whistle blows. City sit tantalisingly three points behind the Cobblers with a goal difference two goals behind us. Victory for the Grecians would push them back above us in the table so it’s all set for a big encounter down in Devon.
Grecians back up to sixth after impressive win…
Paul Tisdale’s men moved back into sixth place in League Two after seeing off high flying Port Vale at Vale Park on Tuesday night. City took the lead through Jamie Cureton – the veteran’s nineteenth goal of the season – and finished the job through Danny Coles with both goals coming in the first half. The victory made it three wins from four for our hosts this afternoon and they’ll be looking to continue their surge back towards the top three.
Exeter will be without Mark Molesley who begins a three match suspension following his red card in Tuesday night’s victory against Port Vale. Alan Gow is still not fit enough to return from an ankle injury but John O’Flynn is back in contention.
For the Cobblers, Manny Oyeleke returned to parent club Brentford this week but Chris Hackett should return after missing out on Tuesday’s win against Bristol Rovers. Joe Widdowson is available after suspension but will have to battle Lee Collins for the left back berth.
As well as Exeter boss Paul Tisdale having a small link to the Cobblers, midfielder Aaron Davies also made his first return to the club earlier this season after being released by AidyBoothroyd in the summer. Davies was only at Sixfields for one season but fell out of favour with new boss Boothroyd in the second half of the campaign.
Guillem Bauza is another Grecians player to have recently been with Town with the striker scoring four times in ten appearances for the Cobblers in 2011, helping us to League Two survival.
Cobblers midfielder Chris Hackett was on loan with Exeter last season, making five appearances for the club.
Previous Six Meetings…
13/10/12: Cobblers 3-0 Exeter (League Two)
The first meeting between the sides in twelve years ends with a comfortable victory for the Cobblers. Bayo Akinfenwa volleyed us in front before Kelvin Langmead got on the end of an Emyr Huws cross to make it two before half-time. Alex Nicholls sealed the victory late in the day to extend Exeter’s poor history at Sixfields.
18/03/00: Cobblers 2-1 Exeter (Division Three)
A big win for Town en route to promotion in 2000. Richard Green put us in front before Carlo Corazzin made it two before the break. Nerves were jangling as Darren Rowbotham halved the deficit mid-way through the second but Town held on for a precious three points.
23/11/99: Exeter 1-2 Cobblers (Division Three)
Jason Rees had Exeter in front after just seven minutes from the spot but goals from Carlo Corazzin and Ian Hendon turned the game around as the Cobblers came home from Devon with all the points.
25/11/97: Cobblers 2-1 Exeter (FA Cup First Round Replay)
The Cobblers progressed to a Second Round tie against Basingstoke and eventually a Third Round exit at Leicester City thanks to this replay win at Sixfields. Roy Hunter opened the scoring early on but it looked like Billy Clarke’s equaliser would send the tie to extra time until Carl Heggs netted the winner with four minutes to go.
15/11/97: Exeter 1-1 Cobblers (FA Cup First Round)
A few days earlier, Darren Rowbotham had gave City the lead at St. James’ Park but Roy Hunter earned the replay in which the Cobblers would eventually progress.
19/04/97: Cobblers 4-1 Exeter (Division Three)
Comfortable Sixfields win for Town as goals from Sean Parrish, Mark Cooper (2) and John Gayle put us on course for the playoffs and that famous day at Wembley. Darren Rowbotham scored from the spot as City scored a late consolation.
The man in the middle…
At the centre of things at St. James Park will be Tim Robinson. Robinson was last in charge of a Cobblers match back in December in the 2-0 home win over Aldershot Town. He also refereed Exeter against the Shots in August, a game which City won 2-1.
The recent run of fortunes means that this one becomes a game in which we’d be pretty happy with a point. Exeter are coming into the game full of confidence after that win over Port Vale on Tuesday night but I think we can nick something from this. 2-2.