Southend United v Northampton Town
Saturday, August 17th 2013
As thousands of fans around the county herald the ‘start of the season’ this weekend as the Premier League kicks off, the Cobblers and Southend head into their third round of league games with the 2013/14 campaign already seeming like it’s in full swing. The Shrimpers have come through a summer transfer embargo with Phil Brown meticulously putting together a squad to try and better last season’s eleventh place finish.
This is Brown’s first full season in charge having only taken over at the end of March and he’s started brightly by collecting six points from the opening two games, both wins coming with a 1-0 score line against Plymouth and Hartlepool. That means they’re one of only four teams with maximum points from the opening couple of fixtures with Oxford, Fleetwood and Chesterfield the others with the total haul.
It’s never an easy proposition to make a trip to Roots Hall and we’ve had many a problem there over the years but Kelvin Langmead’s injury time winner for Town last season, against a Blues side who had lost the enigmatic Bilel Mohsni earlier in the game for a high kick on Chris Hackett, gives us hope that we can start to change that bleak history.
With our own season up and running on the home front, we have to try and get something from this one so that the ghosts of last season’s away form can start to be put to bed as well.
Southend striker Barry Corr was sent off during last weekend’s win at Hartlepool but the red card has since been rescinded so he’s now available to play on Saturday. Kevan Hurst is back in training and could be involved whilst Adam Thompson is pushing for a place in the starting eleven after joining from Watford last week. Julian Bennett had an operation on a knee injury this week and now begins his rehab in a long term bid to return to action.
The Cobblers welcome Clive Platt and Chris Hackett back into the squad after both missed the opening three games of the season through injury. Matt Heath pulled out of the Newport game with a calf strain picked up in the warm up so he will be assessed before the weekend. Lewis Hornby is still out with a back problem while Kelvin Langmead and Alex Nicholls are both long term absentees.
Previous Six Meetings…
16/02/13: Southend 1-2 Cobblers (League Two)
Roy O’ Donovan gave the Cobblers an early lead in the last meeting between the sides before Bilel Mohsni, making his first Shrimpers appearance in nine months, was sent off for a high challenge on Chris Hackett. The ten men equalised midway through the second half through Matty Lund’s header but Kelvin Langmead headed a stoppage time winner for a rare away win for Town.
25/08/12: Cobblers 3-3 Southend (League Two)
In the second home game of this season, there were no goals at half time but the second half provided a superb encounter. Britt Assombalonga opened the scoring just before the hour mark but Bayo Akinfenwa replied minutes later. Kane Ferdinand put the visitors back in front but the Cobblers again struck back, this time through David Artell before Alex Nicholls looked to have won the game with four minutes to go. Southend weren’t done, though, and equalised in stoppage time thanks to Ryan Cresswell’s scrambled effort.
14/01/12: Cobblers 2-5 Southend (League Two)
With Aidy Boothroyd still trying to shape his side together having joined the Cobblers a few weeks earlier, Southend came to town and hit us for five. John Johnson put Town in front before Dave Martin equalised five minutes before the break. Said Berahino scored right on the brink of half time but the Shrimpers hit back with four second half goals thanks to braces from Liam Dickinson and Bilel Mohsni.
03/09/11: Southend 2-2 Cobblers (League Two)
Earlier that season the Cobblers earned a good point at Roots Hall thanks to a great fight back that saw Bayo Akinfenwa and Arron Davies equalise Bilel Mohsni and Ryan Hall’s goals within five second half minutes down in Essex.
26/02/11: Southend 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)
In a tight match at Roots Hall, the Cobblers took the lead through John Johnson before Barry Corr equalised minutes later. This was to be the final of six draws in a row in early 2011 and would end up being Ian Sampson’s final away game in charge.
11/09/10: Cobblers 2-1 Southend (League Two)
The Cobblers won for the first time in the league in the 2010/11 season as Anthony Grant’s 57thminute strike was cancelled out by Abdul Osman. Andy Holt netted the winner with fifteen minutes to go and we were finally up and running in the League Two campaign.
The man in the middle…
Taking charge at Roots Hall is Andy Davies who refereed two Cobblers games last season, both of which ended in 3-2 defeats – at Plymouth and at home to Cheltenham. He also officiated two Southend victories, a 2-1 win against AFC Wimbledon in the JPT and a 4-1 hammering of Torquay United at Plainmoor.
Before last season’s four point haul from Southend, they had been tough nuts to crack and with six points to their name already with two clean sheets it looks no different this time. If we can play to our strengths and not get caught up on trying to defend for a point then we can get something I think. I can’t see us repeating last season’s win but reckon we can get a score draw. 2-2
From the opposition…
To see the thoughts of Southend United fan Jamie Forsyth, check out the Fan Feature from Thursday.