20 Years of Sixfields Stadium – The Top 20 Moments: Part Two…

Sixfields...key to success

We’re down to the top ten moments in Sixfields history as voted by you and today sees Numbers 10 – 2 revealed. You’ll more than likely guess what the winner is by the time you get to the end of this list but it will be officially unveiled tomorrow with a full write up. For now, though, here’s the next list of unforgettable Sixfields moments…

#10 – 25/01/97 – Cobblers 3-0 Hartlepool United – Larry’s hat-trick!

With just three games played in January 1997, all of which coming at home, the Cobblers needed points to continue the path towards an unlikely playoff place under Ian Atkins. I remember at least one of these games only going ahead because Town fans went down to Sixfields to clear snow off the pitch on the morning of the match. After being Cardiff 4-0, the second fixture saw us trounce Chester City 5-1 with five different goal scorers and the month was rounded off with this 3-0 win over Hartlepool United. Neil Grayson was, and still is, my all-time favourite Cobblers player and cemented his place in Sixfields folklore by diving into the snow after netting a hat-trick inside just four minutes either side of half time against Hartlepool and the rest of that season is glorious history.

#9 – 15/10/94: Cobblers 1-1 Barnet – Where it all began

After a delay extended the long anticipated move to Sixfields we finally played our first match in the new stadium as the late, great Martin Aldridge scored the very first goal at our new home. The goal won’t be the only thing that people remember though with Aldridge performing a flip that Faustino Asprilla would have been proud of! Aldridge tragically died in a car crash in 2000 at the age of just twenty five but his contribution to the history of Northampton Town will forever be etched inside the walls of Sixfields Stadium.

#8 – 09/04/07: Cobblers 2-1 Scunthorpe United – Party poopers!

A coming together of Cobblers fans, a late winner and a party that was well and truly pooped were the key ingredients for this one with Scunthorpe coming to Sixfields looking to earn the win they needed for promotion from League One. Before anything could happen on the pitch, though, Cobblers fans banded together to march from the town centre to the ground to protest against the council’s delayed plans for redevelopment of the stadium and to push a quick decision on the matter. Alex Pearce put Town in front early on in the game with Billy Sharp levelling and giving the away fans hope of celebration. But deep into stoppage time, Bradley Johnson swooped to win it for a Cobblers side who would go on to steer well clear of safety in League One.


#7 – 15/09/98: Cobblers 2-0 West Ham United – “I only weigh Freestone”

Having had a summer to take in the fact that we just missed out on promotion (beaten 1-0 by Grimsby Town in the Playoff final) we had started slowly in the league but this cup upset provided a welcome break from the hangover. West Ham came to town with a strong squad for the Second Round of the League Cup including the likes of Shaka Hislop, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright and John Hartson. But the Cobblers put in a gutsy performance in front of the Sky cameras to beat their Premier League opposition thanks to two goals – one a towering header and the other a scrambled effort – from Chris Freestone. In those days there were two legs to these Second Round games and Town held out at Upton Park until Lampard scored far too late to make a difference and progressed into a tie with Tottenham Hotspur in Round Three.

#6 – 06/04/12: Cobblers 2-1 Oxford United – That Good Friday feeling!

A year on from some crazy scenes against Rotherham on Good Friday (more on that later!) came another late, late show that would take a while to leave our collective minds. Town were again embroiled in danger at the wrong end of League Two and faced a nervous encounter with Oxford United at Sixfields on Good Friday.

Luke Guttridge put the Cobblers in front but Cristian Montano made it 1-1 and that was how it stood up until injury time. Then, a long ball over the top was chased down like his life depended on it by loanee Brett Williams…somehow he caught up to it, cut inside and curled in a beautiful shot that crept into the corner of the net to spark wild celebrations as Aidy Boothroyd’s men took a giant step towards safety. Williams seemed to be pulled on by the home support as he chased that ball down and it goes down as a pivotal moment.

#5 – 14/05/97: Cobblers 3-2 Cardiff – Playoff Semi-Final Second Leg

After an unexpectedly good season under Ian Atkins and with the Cobblers in their centenary year, it just felt like it was meant to end with a trip to Wembley Stadium. After a 1-0 win at Ninian Park in the First Leg of the Division Three Playoff Semi-Finals, Sixfields hosted its biggest game up until that point for the second. Ian Sampson headed Town into a 2-0 aggregate lead before Cardiff’s Jeff Eckhardt was sent off a couple of minutes later. Jason Fowler struck before half time to give the visitors hope but goals from Ray Warburton and John Gayle would send the Cobblers to Wembley on a historic night for the club. Simon Haworth added a late consolation but it was our night and the final step en route to the unforgettable win over Swansea City in the Playoff Final.

#4 – 22/04/11: Cobblers 2-2 Rotherham United – Wheelchair Pitch Invasion!

When Rotherham United came to visit on Good Friday 2011, Town were in desperation land. Sammo had been replaced by Gary Johnson and the former Bristol City man had failed to turn the fortunes around enough to avoid a battle against the drop. 2-0 down at half-time and there seemed no way back in this clash with a Millers side chasing the playoffs but Leon McKenzie made it 2-1 to set up a finish that will always be remembered for the celebration of one man.

Liam Davis got the equaliser in stoppage time, sending Sixfields delirious and for supporter Derry Felton it was too much. He proceeded to invade the pitch alone in his wheelchair and went from the half way line all the way to the North Stand to celebrate. It was one of those moments where you just can’t help but smile and know that this could only happen in the lower reaches of English football!

#3 – 29/04/06: Cobblers 1-0 Chester – Promotion finally sealed

An unprecedented move for Sixfields for this crunch final game of the season saw home fans allowed seats in the away end as all four sides of Sixfields was draped in claret for the conclusion to a three year attempt to escape League Two. Two failed playoff campaigns made the outpouring of emotion on the final whistle that bit more special as the Cobblers sealed an automatic promotion place with a tight win over Chester thanks to Scott McGleish’s goal in the first half. The final whistle saw a pitch invasion, speeches from within the tunnel area and a genuine party atmosphere with the Cardoza family completing their first mini project of promotion.

#2 – 03/05/13: Cobblers 3-1 Oxford United – Final Day Survival.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous going into a home game as this one so for the drama and what it could have meant this is rightfully high up in the list. There were all the ingredients in the boiling pot for a classic last day of the season: Chris Wilder hosting a side against the club he left months before for the first time, the Cobblers needing a win to guarantee safety and a local-ish derby atmosphere.

There was a brief moment that saw us genuinely threatened with a disastrous relegation when Ryan Williams put Oxford in front and other results started to go against us. But everything turned on the sending off of goal scorer Williams who kicked out at Ricky Ravenhill and the Cobblers were in front by half-time. John Marquis placed a well taken goal into the net to settle the nerves before Ivan Toney scored his third in two games moments later. A second half header from Mathias Doumbe made it completely safe and Town had clung on to their league status again. It was, at times, too close for comfort but still a memorable day.

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