Win number nine keeps the dream alive

Northampton Town 1-0 Oxford United

League Two

Saturday, March 23rd 2013

The first match to take place while I{m out in Peru saw the Cobblers keep alive dreams of a top three finish with Oxford United beaten by the single goal at Sixfields. The ninth home win in a row meant that, due to others not playing and Cheltenham being held at Barnet, we are back into fourth place in League Two with just seven games to play. A strong defensive performance was needed in the second half to hold back the Us who hold realistic playoff ambitions of their own but Ben Harding’s well taken goal on the stroke of half time was enough and the games are running out for us to not seal at least a place in the top seven.

It was another sign that this Cobblers side is capable of producing things that those from the last couple of seasons haven’t been able to. Scrapping out 1-0 wins, keeping a multitude of clean sheets and even winning when playing in front of a big crowd at Sixfields. So many times before we’ve seen this sort of occasion attract over 6,000 and let us down with a poor performance. This latest tester was overcome thanks to the dogged determination of this squad who are giving us all genuine hope that we won’t even need the playoffs – an unthinkable thing a few months ago.

The match report sent over by my Dad spoke of Kelvin Langmead’s first half injury – one that we will be derperately hoping is on the mend quickly- but also of a sterling performance from Clarke Carlisle. There’s no doubt that the central defensive pairing are putting in shifts to match those knocking in the crucial goals at the other end of the pitch.

Here in Peru I witnessed first hand the passion felt by football supporters on Friday night as their national team saw off Chile by the same 1-0 scoreline to reignite faint hopes of  World Cup qualification. The nations celebrations went into the night and reminded me of how we get around Sixfields when things go right. Beeping horns on the streets took me back to playoff semi final victories and promotions and if we can keep picking up these big results then I may even be dancing on the pitch when I return from these hot shores with just over a week of the season to go.

Next up are Torquay United on Friday with the Gulls looking to knock down a fortress that is still gloriously holding out.

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