Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town
Saturday, April 5th 2014
The tunnel is getting darker and darker and it’s getting increasingly difficult to see that light at the end of it – the Cobblers are in deep, deep trouble and are not in any way playing the type of football or showing the desire needed to make a great escape. There are, however, six games to go and there’s still just about time for something drastic to happen to change our outlooks.
It’s perhaps a blessing in disguise that we’re away from home this weekend with Sixfields becoming a melting pot of exasperation in recent games and the players simply not performing in front of their home support. On the road we’ve actually become more effective and it’s no surprise that Chris Wilder forged a playoff push this season with Oxford United on the back of results away from home.
The bad news for us is that we only have three away games left out of six so the need for the form to continue is absolutely huge as we head to face an Accrington side that have climbed to 15th in recent weeks and are nine points clear of the Cobblers. Their thoughts will all be geared towards beating us and claiming what would be a position almost guaranteeing safety by 5pm on Saturday.
A single goal was enough for Stanley last weekend with Kayode Odejayi’s strike earning all three points at Exeter and they’ve lost just once in seven games coming into this crunch game.
If there is to be that piece of magic or moment that turns our emotions on their head then it needs to happen right now – we can ill afford anything like the performance of last weekend to happen again. If it does, then the light becomes a flicker rather than a ray of hope…
Accrington have no new injury concerns ahead of the game and a near to full strength squad has trained this week. Defender Adam Buxton came off during last weekend’s win at Exeter with a rib injury but has recovered and should start. Laurence Wilson and Marcus Carver are still missing but they’re the only absentees for the home side.
Cobblers defender Gregor Robertson could be in line for a return after pulling out of last weekend’s defeat against Bury through illness in the hour before kick-off. Joe Widdowson is still missing, though, with the ankle injury that’s kept him out of the last few weeks and he could struggle to make another appearance this season. Kelvin Langmead played his first game since May this week in a behind closed doors friendly with Watford but it’s unlikely that he’ll be risked in the final few games of the season either.
Previous Six Meetings…
30/11/13: Cobblers 1-0 Accrington (League Two)
Loanee Stuart Dallas won the Cobblers the match last time out with the only goal of the game at Sixfields on the half hour mark.
09/03/13: Cobblers 2-0 Accrington (League Two)
Chris Hackett and Roy O’ Donovan struck in the first half of last season’s Sixfields encounter with the Cobblers recording an important victory on the road to the playoffs.
10/11/12: Accrington 2-4 Cobblers (League Two)
Bayo Akinfenwa hit a stunning hat-trick including a memorable diving header to earn a big three points for the Cobblers at the Crown Ground. The big man had given us the lead early on before George Miller and Romy Boco turned the game in the home side’s favour. But substitute Jake Robinson equalised before Bayo took centre stage to score the two goals that won it for Town.
17/03/12: Accrington 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)
Jamie Devitt put Stanley in front just before half-time before loan striker Brett Williams looked to have earned us a point. But Craig Linfield popped up with three minutes to go to win the game for the hosts as the Cobblers battled relegation at the end of the 2011/12 season.
06/08/11: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)
The opening day of that season saw the sides cancel each other out on a frustrating afternoon. Jake Robinson went closest for Town with a turn and shot that was cleared off the line in the first half.
02/04/11: Accrington 3-1 Cobblers (League Two)
Accrington took a three goal lead into half-time through Ian Craney’s double strike and Sean McConville. Michael Jacob’s second half goal wasn’t enough to prevent a big defeat at the Crown Ground.
The man in the middle…
Taking charge at the Crown Ground will be Fred Graham who was the official for Town’ 2-1 win at Newport County in December. His last Accrington game was their 0-0 draw at Plymouth Argyle back in September.
It’s getting towards the point of no return but while there’s time on the clock and games to play I’m not giving this up. Away from home we seem to play with a bit more freedom at the moment and that’s understandable given the home pressures. So I’m going for it this week – 1-0 to the Cobblers.