Greetings, one and all, and welcome to September 2017. The Cobblers were reeling from four straight league defeats but a saviour was at hand. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, he of International recognition from his time at Chelsea as a marauding striker, dropped back to League One having taken unfancied Burton Albion to the brink of The Championship before an indifferent spell with QPR. What could possibly go wrong? We wish we’d never asked…
Things started well enough with a bold new era beginning with a goal in the first 20 seconds of Jimmy’s reign in a 1-0 home win over Doncaster Rovers. Matt Ingram, fresh from keeping goal for QPR against Town in August, was loaned in and kept a clean sheet as we finally felt that winning feeling once again. Many didn’t know what to do. Hundreds paused in their seats, Bovril in hand not able to believe what had happened. Clarence the Dragon fainted. Jeema stopped moaning for thirty whole seconds. Quite the scenes.
The new manager bounce became a full on trampoline session a few days later with the visit of Portsmouth, who were also disposed of as if August hadn’t event existed. Chris Long’s brace and another from Crooks had us looking up the table rather than down it for the first time and Jimmy was hailed as the latest messiah. He, was of course, just a very naughty boy.
Next up was a trip to sunny cold Southend and Jimmy was in dreamland as Leon Barnett and Crooks gave his new charges a 2-0 lead. The second half at Roots Hall, though, turned a tide in the game and the season from which we never fully recovered again. Two goals in three minutes at the start of the second half salvaged a point for the Shrimpers and exposed a soft centre within the Cobblers that many would pick up on over the coming months. To make matters worse, Crooks was sent off in stoppage time. Even then, seven points from a possible nine was a cracking start to the Hasselbaink era.
A trip to heavy favourites Wigan Athletic was never likely to amount to much and inevitably Michael Jacobs scored the only goal of the game to condemn Jimmy to his first defeat (of many, as it turns out!) as Town boss.
Our old friends Bradford City came to town and did the same, winning 1-0 thanks to Tony McMahon’s solitary strike and while the bubble hadn’t completely burst, a small child was definitely edging towards it with a pin.
More than 2,500 Cobblers fans converged on Stadium: MK for a Tuesday night 0-0 draw that did little to warm anyone’s cockles though Raheem Hanley got a rare start in a Town shirt and future Town loanee Gabor Aryibi turned out for the plastic population.
September came to a close with a trip to Rotherham United and another shaky display ended with a third 1-0 defeat of the month. The goal was scored by Kieffer Moore who would end the season in the Championship with Barnsley.
So a hectic start to Hasselbaink’s reign with two wins, two draws and three defeats leaving us almost back where we started and in huge need of something to lift the already dwindling spirits. The good news was that the Checkatrade Trophy was just around the corner again…
@StatsChristian: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is the first #Northampton manager to win his opening game in charge since Kevin Wilson in Nov 1999
@javerill14: The fourth official is coming on for the linesman in the first substitution of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s #NTFC career…
Moment of the Month:
That opening goal of the Hasselbaink era after 21 seconds – things didn’t get a whole lot better after that!
Player of the Month: Ash Taylor, for the second successive month.
Song for the Month:
Coming up: More penalty shootout joy, THAT Bristol Rovers game and another mini revival.