You know something’s about to happen when you see that the Cobblers have a strong record at a certain away ground we’re about to visit or are hosting a team who haven’t won at Sixfields in X amount of visits. I wish those statisticians would keep quiet because as soon as they rear their head Cobblers Law kicks in and we know that records are about to be broken.
So to the Abbey Stadium on Friday night – scenes of many good memories over the years: Jamie Forrester’s two wonder goals in a 2-1 win, coming from 3-1 down to nick a 3-3 draw, an entertaining FA Cup draw and a Chris Willmott 90th minute winner all spring to mind. I had no idea during all of those good times that a record was being built on quietly – one of years’ worth of visits without the Cobblers losing.
Once again, the curse kicked in on Friday as the U’s came from behind to beat a Town side who are now, despite the win over Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago, in steady decline.
It would, of course, be wrong to blame this on fate. There’s something about the side that just doesn’t feel right at the moment. Things aren’t clicking how they were in the early season, defending is at a standstill and those injuries just keep on coming. It’s a miracle these days if we get through a weekend without a new injury and Tom Newey was added to the roll call half an hour in. It’s shocking for continuity when the team is dropping like the proverbial fly and we’re unlikely to build up a bid for even a top half finish with the sort of problems we’re having on that front.
The Cobblers briefly threatened to win it thanks to Ivan Toney’s much needed goal just after half-time – the young lad is bound to blow hot and cold in his first full season but it would have been a huge confidence booster. Even more so had the team kept hold of the lead it gave them for more than a minute but Cambridge were straight up the other end to level before Ryan Bird won it far too easily and with too much predictability.
You can point at a goal mouth scramble and a goal line clearance as unlucky reasons to not at least get a point but the fact is we’re losing far too much and are headed straight back towards the direction Chris Wilder found us in just over a year ago. He has a big, big job on his hands now to make sure that all his, and the players’, hard work from January to May isn’t wasted.
We undoubtedly have a stronger side in place even with the injuries but there’s so much that needs be addressed. From comments coming out of the last couple of weeks a lot of supporters have felt drained. We’re in need of a great big shot in the arm but you just can’t seem to tell where on earth it’s going to come from.
As for Tuesday night’s cup replay, I think I was more confident of us beating Wolves away earlier in the season than I am that we’ll get through at Spotland – with a lower league club than them awaiting in Round Two they’ll be well up for it and planning ahead. Next week’s home game with Stevenage becomes pivotal and will see us come under plenty of pressure.
Just don’t tell me about any records in the coming few days!