FA Cup Second Round
Saturday, December 7th 2013
Grimsby fans finally got their joyous moment against the Cobblers. In 2006, as they were waiting to party and invade the Blundell Park pitch, Ryan Gilligan stunned them all and the rest is history. On Saturday, the cup celebrations and the Mariner’s progression into Round Three, where they will meet Championship side Huddersfield Town, would have gone a long way to replacing their previous memories of games against Northampton Town.
The Cobblers suffered from sloppiness at the back and a lack of desire to go and win the game. We were inevitably caught out going for the draw and the replay that would have satisfied many. Grimsby weren’t messing about though and although our game plan worked up until a certain point it was destined to be shot down in the second half as the hosts pressed more and more and clinched it with two decent goals.
First, Shaun Pearson rose to meet Scott Kerr’s free kick and looped a header beyond Matt Duke to get the home crowd off their seats, from which they never really returned for the rest of the afternoon. Jacob Blyth was cutting a lonely figure up front and it was always going to be difficult for him to get in the game with the tactics so much leading to a defensive display.
After the goal, we did start to try and get back to where we wanted to be in clambering out a draw but the introductions of Clive Platt and, much too late in the day, Ishmel Demontagnac and Luke Norris, had only minimal success. Platt carved out a good chance on the turn but his left footed effort flew over the bar.
Grimsby kept trying to kill the game off and as we pressed for number two, Patrick McLaughlin wriggled his way through to seal it in stoppage time. It was one of the ‘upsets’ of the day with pretty slim pickings in the rest of the fixtures in that respect and the Cobblers now go back to the age old adage of focusing on the league.
That league campaign is still on dodgy ground despite the recent upturn in performances and we simply cannot afford to go for a draw at Bury on Saturday in what is an absolute crunch game against one of our rivals at the foot of the table. We’re severely lacking in goals away from Sixfields with 2013 a shocker of a year for results on the road.
If we can defeat the Shakers, though, we would be guaranteed to jump out of the bottom two at the weekend – that’s surely incentive enough for a group of players and the manager who need to get this cup exit forgotten about right away.
Finally, best of luck to Grimsby for the rest of the season and if they carry on the way they are we could well be rekindling the old rivalry once again come August!