After a two week mini winter break, it was on to the final furlong of the season as the Cobblers looked to hold on to their position just above the bottom four in League One.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had dipped into his Orange Pages just before the trip to Bristol Rovers to bring in fellow Dutchman and striker Kevin Luckassen, formerly of AZ Alkmaar, Ross County, Slovan Liberec and SKN St Polten (thanks Wikipedia!) to bolster the attacking ranks. His luck was indeed in as big Kev scored within moments of his debut by coming off the bench to nod in an equaliser at Bristol Rovers in a 1-1 draw to kick off March.
Playing at Sixfields was Hasselbaink’s worst enemy though after he’d come out and publically showed his anger at home fans booing after the 0-0 draw with Oxford United at the end of February. The murmurings were getting louder and louder after another dismal performance at home, this time against playoff bound Rotherham United who took a comfortable 3-0 win back to Yorkshire.
Better was to come on the Tuesday night with a good 1-1 draw with high flying Shrewsbury that was all going right at the break as Shay Facey put the Cobblers in front. But when John-Joe O’Toole and Abu Ogogo decided to bring some WWE skills into proceedings, earning them both an early bath, any flow was unsettled and Jon Nolan would earn his side a point.
A crucial trip to fellow strugglers Fleetwood Town was up next and it would prove to be a critical point in the season and in Hasselbaink’s reign. A poor performance, a 2-0 defeat and a long trudge home led to many believing that this was the beginning of the end for the season and for Jimmy.
Those thoughts were compounded in the final game of the month as Charlton Athletic won 4-0 at Sixfields in an afternoon stroll on Good Friday. With a trip to arch rivals Peterborough United up next, the gloom surrounding the club was palpable and it was, from here, only a matter of time before the Hasslebaink reign was, mercifully, brought to an end. With just six games to go and with Town back in the bottom four, the writing was very much on the wall.
@ian_townsend JFH is the only manager who makes unfathomable selections that not one cobblers fan would make he must be a genius we’ve not recognised it yet
@alan0015 Well that was a soggy and cold afternoon at Sixfields. Lost 0-4 to Charlton who were decent to be fair, but Cobblers looked clueless. #ntfc #goingdown
@TheRealCase Well, that was a bit of horror show by the Cobblers at Sixfields today. Rotherham were good, but Town allowed them so much time and space. Playing at home looks to have become a real problem for some of this team, and that does not bode well for their survival chances #ntfc
Moment of the Month:
Not a lot to go on so I’ll go with Luckassen’s first touch in a Cobblers shirt finding the next at The Mem.
Player of the Month:
Song for the Month:
Coming up: Bye bye Jimmy, hello Dean and relegation despite a renewal of hope.