It’s Christmas time…there’s no need to be afraid. Well, actually, there was for Cobblers fans. Still deep in trouble in the bottom four and with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink still trying to formulate some sort of plan of escape it was to be a crucial period of the season and looking back on it, this is where major cracks appeared.
Drawing the final game of November with fellow strugglers Bury at home wasn’t ideal and even the Checkatrade Trophy couldn’t provide light relief this time as Portsmouth disposed of Jimmy’s men in the first knockout stage, winning 2-0 at Fratton Park.
So with the Cobblers out of all cup competitions, it was full focus on the league and a trip to Oldham got as many alarm bells ringing as that Bristol Rovers hammering early in Hasselbaink’s reign. While you could put the Gas defeat down to ironing out some early issues, there was no excuse for a 5-1 hammering here. Sam Foley got the only Town goal but it was all but lost at 3-0 by that point and the home side simply kicked on again to easily dispose of a poor looking Cobblers side.
A response was needed and one came briefly with a 2-1 home win over Walsall with Erhun Oztumer’s early strike reversed by a Chris Long brace. It was, though, to be our only December victory. Amadou Bakayoko was sent off late on for the visitors.
As had been the case with much of our season up to this point, fresh signs of hope faded quickly to make way for unfathomable defeats and dropped points. Once again it looked like we were doing something like playing football and grinding out results following the Walsall win and there was even an excellent home point gained from Blackburn Rovers two days before Christmas.
But December closed with back to back away defeats, 3-0 at Doncaster Rovers and 3-1 at Pompey. Town took the lead in the game on the south coast but there was never a real belief that we were about to hang on and end a pretty bleak calendar year in style.
So it was that with twenty five games played, the Cobblers had collected just 23 points and needed a huge improvement in the second half of the season to fight against a tide that was building and building towards the relegation coast line.
@James_ChronNTFC FT: Oldham 5-1 Cobblers. League Two isn’t so bad. We’ve had many woeful afternoons and this is another one to add to the collection.
@CobblersPast Amadou Bakayoko the Walsall striker was the 96th player to be dismissed against the Cobblers since the club was formed in 1897! @ntfc #ntfc @cobblerspast
@Somerset_Pompey I don’t think I’ve ever seen a side look so scared as Cobblers were today, especially their defence. Looked as if they thought the ball was going to explode anytime it went near them, couldn’t get rid of it quick enough. Worst team I’ve seen this season by a Pompey mile.
Moment of the Month:
Winning a football match.
Player of the Month: Chris Long popped up with the goals during the only real high points.
Song for the Month:
Coming up: New faces, new results and the shoots of a possible recovery (again)…