Northampton Town 1-0 Accrington Stanley
Saturday, November 30th 2013
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t spectacular…it was simply what was needed as the Cobblers brought to an end Accrington’s run of form that had seen them go eight games undefeated before heading to Sixfields. Izale McLeod could, and should, have made it a more comfortable afternoon for Town fans but his debut included a missed penalty and a scuffed shot that hit the bar.
It was, though, a big result and McLeod can look back on his day as a decent start to his run in a Cobblers shirt. Perhaps more important was the stand out performance of a certain Clive Platt who returned to the starting line up looking to re start the partnership with McLeod that was so successful at MK Dons all those years ago. The fact that more people were talking about Platt come full time says a lot about the man’s presence and determination to battle against three loan forwards for a permanent starting berth.
Platt was involved in the only goal of the game, sending in Danny Emerton before the winger laid it off to Stuart Dallas who converted for his fourth goal in Cobblers colours. Dallas is beginning to look just as good a signing as fellow Brentford man Luke Norris and it’s a decent return for a winger after a couple of months here.
Town’s dubious penalty – after McLeod went down under a challenge a bit too easily for some – didn’t bear fruit as the new man picked himself up to tamely pass the ball into the hands of Accrington keeper Marcus Bettinelli. Referee Mr Phillips made amends for the visitors by failing to give a spot kick in the second half on McLeod again in an incident that appeared cleaner cut than the original decision.
The Cobblers were as comfortable as they could be at 1-0 with McLeod going close again from a Platt lay off in a bid to kill off the game but the tide began to turn with around ten minutes to go. Stanley should have been level when Peter Murphy missed a sitter from only a few yards out and that was their big chance to extend their unbeaten run.
Town battled for a third clean sheet in four, though, and rose from the bottom of the table with a big three points. Seven points from these last four games is a good return with the form that had come before and we now go into the FA Cup Second Round tie at Grimsby Town looking more solid than we did ahead of the First Round clash at Bishop’s Stortford.
Ricky Ravenhill put in another dogged display in midfield and it’s no coincidence that since his arrival we’ve seen our form slowly improve. A deal to bring him in permanently would be the best Christmas present that Aidy Boothroyd could wish for at this point. The clean sheet again is a positive, especially with the Kelvin Langmead news this week, and Kevin Amankwaah’s presence again at right back is important to have back.
Today’s opponents have shown how much impact a run of form can have and we’re getting to a point where, though we’ll have the occasional slip up, we’re starting to pick up points again. These 1-0 home wins are what formed the backbone of last season’s playoff push and if we can get back to dragging the results out of the bag like we’ve done twice in the last few days then we’ll give ourselves a chance of moving back towards mid-table.
FA Cup progress and that potential ‘mouth-watering tie’ would be a nice little bonus to this upward momentum. Bring on the Fishy people!