A day of firsts for battling Cobblers

Doumbe...first Cobblers goal

Doumbe…first Cobblers goal

Northampton Town 2-0 Hartlepool United

League Two

Saturday, 22nd February 2014

A first home win and first clean sheet of 2014, first goals for the club for Mathias Doumbe and Brennan Dickenson and the first assists of the season for Chris Hackett all meant that the Cobblers clawed back some territory at least to Torquay United in the immediate fight to get off the foot of League Two. Results above the Gulls didn’t go to plan but that means that today’s three points become even more important to the goal of catching those hovering above the drop zone.

It was by no means pretty at Sixfields but no-one with a Town persuasion will care one jot if every home game from now until the end of the season ends with a result like this. It’s one that gives everyone a big lift with the performances of Hackett and, in particular, new signing Zander Diamond playing a big role on a big day. We’re still five points away from Wycombe who frustratingly found their way past league leaders Chesterfield but keep picking up points like this and the rest will look after itself.

It was a relief to get back to some sort of normality weather wise with the game never in doubt for one of the only weekends so far this year and the game was a tight one as the visitors seemed to be happy to play the role of soaking everything up and looking to catch us on the counter attack. Dickenson almost gave us the lead with a rare chance but his header flew wide and it looked as though we’d go in goalless at the break.

A bad injury to Hartlepool defender Michael Duckworth meant that the game was delayed by a few minutes and the half was deep into first half stoppage time when Doumbe stooped to head in after Joe Widdowson had put Hackett’s free kick back into the area. A much needed half time lead, then, to build on and it would mean that Hartlepool would have to come out a bit after the break.

But the Cobblers didn’t give them a chance to do that with Hackett providing a pin point cross for Dickenson to nod home two minutes into the second half. This was a rare position to be in at Sixfields – the last time the Cobblers were two goals to the good at home was way back in August in the first home game of the season against Newport County – and it was vital that we held on.

After that, though, there were no jitters that you’d usually associate with Town barring a Simon Walton shot that hit the post and a fine Matt Duke save from Luke Williams’ effort. That was all that the Monkey Hangers could muster, though, and the points were in the bag!

Torquay United’s home defeat to Accrington Stanley means that we’re now level on points with the Gulls, who aren’t showing the sort of form I’d expected when Chris Hargreaves took over. The disappointment was from outside the drop zone as mentioned before but Portsmouth could be key – we still hold a game in hand over them and have cut the gap to seven points between us after they were thumped 5-1 at Scunthorpe.

There’s so much more football to play even this week with two more games at Sixfields and plenty of crunch games elsewhere so by the time we reflect on the results in a week’s time things may look a whole lot different. To beat a side in ninth place is a very good day’s work but Southend United on Tuesday will bring their usual attempts at hoodoo before a massive clash with Bristol Rovers on Saturday afternoon. Four points from those two and I’ll be a very happy man.

So more of the same please Cobblers – I quite like this winning lark!

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