York City v Northampton Town: Match Preview

York City Bootham Crescent

York City v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, August 15th 2014

If the Cobblers are to complete what would be one of the best opening weeks of a season in recent memory by beating Saturday’s hosts York City then we’re going to have to pull something pretty special out of the bag. The Minstermen haven’t lost a regular league fixture since a 2-0 defeat at home to Chesterfield on January 28th with only the playoff semi-final reverse against eventual winners Fleetwood Town and Tuesday’s cup loss against Doncaster Rovers blotting the copybook of a remarkable run of results that took them from relegation candidates to within a game of Wembley last season.

City’s story so nearly had a happy ending but for that Fleetwood defeat in the first leg of the semis but Nigel Worthington’s men have reacted well in the summer to that set back and to key defender Lanre Oyebanjo joining Crawley Town. Worthington has brought in Marvin McCoy who racked up over ninety appearances for Wycombe Wanderers over four years as a replacement for Oyebanjo whilst also strengthening across the squad with Barnet’s Jake Hyde and Southend’s Anthony Straker coming in as well as the likes of Femi Ilesanmi from Dagenham and Redbridge, Luke Summerfield and Dave Winfield both from Shrewsbury Town and Jason Mooney from Tranmere Rovers.

The first two games of York’s season have both been all about last minute goals. On the opening day last weekend they were moments away from an impressive three points at Tranmere until James Rowe’s volley recused a point for the League Two newbies. Then, on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup, League One’s Doncaster Rovers left it until stoppage time to nick a winner at Bootham Crescent.

It’s back in the league that York are so hard to stop, though, and as they prepare to try and repeat last season’s 1-0 win over the Cobblers on the opening day of the season (which came about thanks to their own last gasp winner following Darren Carter’s red card), Town will be hoping to round off what’s been a really positive first seven days of 2014/15.

Team work and inspired substitutions have been the order of the day so far from Chris Wilder and both will be called upon again once more at a ground where the Cobblers have won just once in their last eight visits, that being a 1-0 success on Bank Holiday Monday in August 1999.

There’s plenty of battles for places in the starting line-up for Wilder to consider. Chris Hackett, Darren Carter and Emile Sinclair all look to be over the injuries that kept them out of the Wolves game while Lawson D’Ath’s brace at Molineux after coming off the bench will have given his boss food for thought. There’s also the issue of whether Ivan Toney keeps his place after a strong cameo against Mansfield and a solid showing and goal at Wolves with Marc Richards and John-Joe O’Toole also vying for position.

All very good problems to have though, especially considering that York have one or two injury worries up front. Striker Ryan Jarvis will be out for up to three weeks after coming off against Doncaster on a stretcher thanks to an ankle injury and he’s added to a list that contains Josh Carson on the absent list. The good news for the Minstermen is that Wes Fletcher has completed two weeks of training and could feature and Jake Hyde could also make his debut. Sixteen year old Ben Hirst is also chomping at the bit for a starting place and could get the nod to partner Michael Coulson up front should Fletcher and Hyde not be available from the start.

Plenty to ponder, then, for both managers ahead as the season kicks well and truly into gear. If the Cobblers can end this long unbeaten streak then it’ll have been the perfect start to a long season.

Northampton Town v Oxford United: Match Preview


Northampton Town v Oxford United

League Two

Saturday, May 3rd 2014

One game of football sits between the Cobblers and what looked like the most unlikely of survivals even as recently as three or four weeks ago. A startling 3-0 home defeat by Bury had left us in a perilous position three points from safety with just six games left to turn things around. Three wins from the following five games later, though, and we’re staring safety right in the face.

We all know the permutations – Town need just one solitary point from the meeting with Chris Wilder’s old side Oxford United to guarantee League Two football again for another season. Wycombe Wanderers must beat relegated Torquay at Plainmoor to stand any chance of saving themselves and despite it all being in our hands it’s almost guaranteed that radios will be glued to ears and social media will be constantly being refreshed should Oxford silence a sold out Sixfields by taking a lead.

The last week has been spent picturing every scenario under the sun – an Ivan Toney thirty yarder in the last second to save the day, a 5-0 trouncing of Oxford to really go out in style, a gritty and heart churning draw…I’m sure you’ve all been having dreams and nightmares of similar outcomes.

The only thing that we can do is place our trust one more time in the eleven men charged with taking us over the line. We’ve got to the point now where if the worst does happen then it’ll be that bit harder to take but with momentum with us and spirit in the camp arguably the highest they’ve been since Wilder’s arrival there’s confidence in the air.

Wilder’s January jump to Sixfields was one of the big talking points of the League Two season and as soon as it was confirmed the Oxford support was talking all about the implications of this meeting on the final day of the season. The U’s, at that point, were sixth in the division and just four points from the top. They had a comfortable seven point gap between themselves and the sides outside the playoff places and chances were high that Wilder’s old side could not only relegate his new one but confirm a promotion or a playoff place at the same time.

Nineteen games later and fortunes for both sides have dramatically changed. The Cobblers, six points from safety and bottom of the table on Wilder’s appointment, are now within a point of guaranteeing league football again next season whilst Oxford have dropped to eighth and are seven points away from a playoff place that was completely lost after a 2-1 home defeat to Accrington Stanley last weekend.

That run of form for both sides doesn’t make the nerves any easier though … it’s difficult to comprehend that we’re down to one game to decide it all. After this one there are no more ifs, buts or maybes, no more fixtures to look at and plot a route out of trouble and no more chances to redeem a bad performance.

This is it…

Team News…

The Cobblers have no new injury worries ahead of the game with the only injuries being the long term casualties Lee Collins, Alex Nicholls and Lewis Hornby. Joe Widdowson’s ankle problem is also keeping him out once again but apart from that Town could line up in a similar way to how they did in last week’s win at Dagenham.

Oxford boss Gary Waddock may take the chance to blood a couple of the younger members of his squad with no chance of making the playoffs and a virtual guarantee that they will finish in eighth place.

Previous Six Meetings…

12/10/13: Oxford 2-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Oxford moved up to third in League Two with this victory against the Cobblers back in October. James Constable put the U’s in front just before half-time and the lead was doubled just a minute later when Constable was brought down in the area and Danny Rose converted the spot kick.

23/03/13: Cobblers 1-0 Oxford (League Two)

This was a crucial win for the Cobblers towards the end of last season as Ben Harding’s goal on the stroke of half-time kept up the tremendous run of form at Sixfields that was to be the main reason for reaching the playoffs.

24/11/12: Oxford 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

James Constable put the U’s in front on fifteen minutes at the Kassam Stadium. Clive Platt looked to have earned a point for the Cobblers but Jon-Paul Pittman struck back again for the home side moments later with the crucial deciding goal. To compound our misery, Clarke Carlisle was sent off in the final minute of the game.

06/04/12: Cobbler s 2-1 Oxford (League Two)

A cracking Good Friday match under the Sixfields lights saw Luke Guttridge score inside the first minute to give the Cobblers the lead. Christian Montano equalised before Neal Kitson saved his second penalty in as many games to keep us in it. Right at the death, Brett Williams chased down what looked like a lost cause, cut inside and curled in one of the most important goals of the season to earn a simply massive three points on the way to Football League safety.

17/12/11: Oxford 2-0 Cobblers (League Two)

This was my wedding day so I barely knew we were playing this match until my best man reminded me with a sneaky score update during dinner. Those that were concentrating saw Town comfortably beaten thanks to goals from Tom Craddock and Deane Smalley.

22/01/11: Cobblers 2-1 Oxford (League Two)

Andy Holt gave the Cobblers the lead at Sixfields going into half-time but Tom Craddock pulled things level two minutes after the break. Leon McKenzie sealed a big win, though, by putting in the winner with a quarter of the game to go.

23/10/10: Oxford 3-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Alfie Potter scored early on in this one but Leon McKenzie equalised on fifteen minutes. Josh Payne would give the U’s the lead back right on the stroke of half-time and when John Johnson was sent off for a foul in the area on ninety minutes, Tom Craddock stepped up to seal the victory for the hosts.

The man in the middle…

The referee who will hopefully remain quiet and not become a figure of folklore is Scott Duncan who has shown four red cards in his last five games. Duncan last took charge of the Cobblers in a 2-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon in September 2012.


Do I dare predict how this is going? Go on then…I’ve been keeping faith for a long time and the ‘R’ word has never been something I’ve really accepted and I’m not changing now. It’s not likely to be a clear passage to safety but I think we’ll get what we need. 1-1.


As mentioned yesterday there’s a group of Cobblers fans making the journey to Sixfields via a couple of pit stops in town…for all the details check out the chat I had with Jake Moore here or see his blog at http://northamptontownimproudtobe.blogspot.co.uk/

The man himself, Pat Gavin is going to be in attendance and presented to the Cobblers fans before the game!

Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Adams ParkWycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town

League Two

Friday, April 18th 2014

Two teams locked together on 46 points. Two sets of supporters on the edge of their seats. Two league places hanging in the balance. For any winner of this dual at Adams Park there is the promise of a three point gap between them and league safety. For a loser, it’s back to square one with just three games following this one to make amends and to drag themselves out of trouble.

Wycombe Wanderers have been a proud member of the Football League since 1993 when Martin O’Neill inspired them to a Conference and FA Trophy double. As they began their rise to prominence, the Cobblers could easily have gone the other way had the miracle at Gay Meadow not occurred on May 8th of the same year. As it was, Pat Gavin’s backside intervened and we were safe against all the odds and while this game twenty one years on isn’t quite a match in terms of importance for that one, it’s still a monumentally crucial one.

As soon as last weekend’s results – Wycombe losing at Newport and the Cobblers holding their nerve against Burton – were confirmed, all eyes turned to this one as Town closed the gap to just goal difference between themselves and safety (i.e. Wanderers themselves). With 2,000 Cobblers fans likely to be pouring into the away end it’s set to be an incredible atmosphere with nerves at absolute fever pitch.

This has all the potential to be one of those away games we lock away in our memory banks for years and years…let’s just hope it’s for all the right reasons!

Team News…

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth hopes to have both Matt Bloomfield and Max Kretzschmar available to face the Cobblers after their recent injury blows. Bloomfield missed the Newport County defeat last weekend with a hamstring problem while Kretzschmar limped off in that game with a dead leg. Paris Cowan-Hall (ankle) and Anthony Stewart (hamstring) have trained this week but the game may come too early for them both. Jon-Paul Pittman will also miss out after pulling his quad in last weekend’s warm up and Gary Doherty remains out with an arm injury.

The Cobblers have Mathias Doumbe and Zander Diamond back in the squad for the trip to Adams Park…Doumbe has recovered from the injury that kept him out of last week’s win against Burton while Diamond was ineligible for that game. Darren Carter is missing again as he serves the second of a two game suspension but Kelvin Langmead may be given more game time from the bench after seeing some action for the first time in eleven months against the Brewers.

Previous Six Meetings…

21/12/13: Cobblers 1-4 Wycombe (League Two)

Earlier this season, Aidy Boothroyd paid the ultimate price for some poor form and a hammering at home by Wycombe as he lost his job as Town boss following a 4-1 reverse. Jo Kuffour set the tone for the afternoon by scoring after just thirteen seconds to put the Chairboys in front before Kortney Hause made it 2-0 on fifteen minutes. Izale McLeod tapped in to halve the deficit but Wanderers sealed the win late on with goals from Stuart Lewis and Dean Morgan. News of Boothroyd’s sacking came through just an hour after kick off.

16/04/13: Wycombe 0-0 Cobblers (League Two)

A rearranged game because of a waterlogged pitch in the originally planned game ended in a goalless draw that effectively put the Cobblers out of last season’s race for the top three.

17/11/12: Cobblers 3-1 Wycombe (League Two)

Earlier that season the Cobblers got the better of Wanderers with a good home win thanks to Bayo Akinfenwa’s double, one a penalty, and Chris Hackett’s second half strike. Joel Grant’s spot kick looked to set up a nervy conclusion but Town held out for an important three points.

16/04/11: Wycombe 2-2 Cobblers (League Two)

An entertaining encounter at Adams Park saw Shaun Harrad give Town the lead from the penalty spot on twenty minutes before Guillem Bauza doubled the advantage. But second half goals from Scott Donnelly and Leon Johnson earned Wycombe a point en route to their eventual promotion.

28/08/11: Cobblers 1-1 Wycombe (League Two)

Andy Sandell looked like he had claimed all three points for Wanderers after netting in the first half but the Cobblers won a late penalty which was converted by Kevin Thornton to give us a share of the spoils.

01/09/09: Wycombe 2-2 Cobblers – After extra time, Cobblers win 3-0 on pens (JPT First Round)

A back and forth JPT First Round tie saw Ryan Gilligan hand Town the lead from the spot before John-Paul Pittman levelled via the same method. Steve Guinan thought he had won it when he scored four minutes from time but Pittman equalised again in stoppage time. After a goalless period of extra time, though, Wycombe contrived to miss all of their penalties in the shoot-out. The Cobblers scored all three of their kicks and headed through to Round Two.

The man in the middle…

Taking charge at Adams Park is Andy D’Urso – a name familiar to most supporters in the game but not always for the right reasons! He last officiated a Cobblers game in our 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon back in October. Earlier in the season he had been the referee for Wycombe’s 2-2 draw at Oxford, during which he sent off the Chairboys’ Charles Dunne.


The Cobblers have a good history of turning up for the big away games and with a large backing from the away support the battle could be just as intense off the pitch as it is on it. Something tells me that we’ll still be biting plenty of finger nails after this one though….I’m going for a high scoring draw to keep us both on edge. 2-2.

Northampton Town v Burton Albion: Match Preview


Northampton Town v Burton Albion

League Two

Saturday, April 12th 2014

A year ago this would have been a crunch game between two promotion chasing clubs. Since then, though, only Burton have taken last season’s form on to challenge for a place in League One again. The importance for the Cobblers is, of course, the fight against relegation this time around and with a monumentally decisive Easter double header coming up against Wycombe and Portsmouth we desperately need three points here.

The visitors come to Sixfields having kept three clean sheets in a row with back to back 1-0 home victories over Wycombe and Plymouth sandwiching a goalless draw at fellow promotion hopefuls York City. They’ve also only been beaten once in nine games and sit just three points off a place in the top three. It’s a very similar position to the one that the Cobblers found themselves in at this stage last season and we can only look in envy as we try to ensure that we get another crack at League Two in August.

The big talking point from a Cobblers point of view is the possible return of Captain Marvel Kelvin Langmead to action after eleven months on the sidelines. Langers has been the biggest absentee this season but with a couple of injury and eligibility issues at the back there’s a small chance that he will play some part after coming through seventy minutes of a behind closed doors game recently. Chris Wilder included him in the warm up last weekend at Accrington and, whilst he’ll be wary of throwing him in too soon (Hi Aidy, how’s it going?!), he’ll be more than tempted to call upon a man who may yet have a big role to play in league survival.

Whether that survival comes to fruition depends on a sterling effort from every single player from here on in though. Sixfields can be quite unforgiving at times and now we have to turn things on their heads and make it unforgiving for the opposition and not just for the players we’re entrusting with keeping our football club in the league.

Team News…

The Cobblers will be missing key duo Zander Diamond and Darren Carter with Diamond ineligible to play against his parent club and Carter suspended after picking up too many bookings in recent weeks which means he also misses the key trip to Wycombe on Good Friday. The aforementioned Langmead may start on the bench with Gregor Robertson the likeliest to come in for Diamond. Ben Tozer is set to come into the midfield in place of Carter with Gary Deegan another option (kind of).

Burton have top scorer Adam McGurk back after a hip injury and Phil Edwards and Marcus Holness return to the squad following illnesses.

Previous Six Meetings…

26/12/13: Burton 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

The sides last met on Boxing Day with Ian Sharps’ header five minutes from time proving decisive in a tight contest at the Pirelli Stadium.

19/01/13: Cobblers 1-0 Burton (League Two)

In an equally close game in January 2013 it was Bayo Akinfenwa’s goal that won it for the Cobblers near the start of a long winning run at Sixfields/

29/09/12: Burton 3-3 Cobblers (League Two)

In a belter of a game at the Pirelli, Calvin Zola put the Brewers in front early on before a Kelvin Langmead own goal made it 2-0. Langmead made amends pretty quickly though by halving the deficit himself and David Artell equalised with fifteen minutes to play. There was still time for more drama, though, as Zander Diamond put the hosts back in front five minutes later and Alex Nicholls produced a stunner to finally take home a point for Town.

20/03/12: Burton 0-1 Cobblers (League Two)

In a massive six pointer at the wrong end of League Two, the Cobblers scored an injury time winner through Kelvin Langmead to move a step closer to survival at the end of the 2011/12 season.

26/12/11: Cobblers 2-3 Burton (League Two)

On Boxing Day of that season there were two goals in two minutes at Sixfields as the Cobblers took the lead through on loan striker Saido Berahino before Cleveland Taylor equalised for the visitors seconds later. Michael Jacobs put Town back in front from the spot but after John Johnson was sent off on eighteen minutes it was an uphill struggle for the Cobblers and Chris Palmer levelled things on the hour. Justin Richards would eventually seal the win for his side with a late penalty to keep us in the bottom two.

05/04/11: Burton 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Guillem Bauza gave the Cobblers the lead at the Pirelli Stadium but Aaron Webster equalised for the hosts just before half time.

The man in the middle…

The referee on Saturday will be Carl Berry who last took charge of the Cobblers in September 2012 for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over MK Dons at Sixfields. Later that season he officiated Burton’s 2-1 win at Aldershot and was the referee for their recent 0-0 draw at Portsmouth.


Five games to go, three points from safety. I don’t need to write any more clichés about cup finals or must wins so it’s just all about going for it, getting behind the team and, most importantly, believing. 2-1.

Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town: Match Preview

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Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, April 5th 2014

The tunnel is getting darker and darker and it’s getting increasingly difficult to see that light at the end of it – the Cobblers are in deep, deep trouble and are not in any way playing the type of football or showing the desire needed to make a great escape. There are, however, six games to go and there’s still just about time for something drastic to happen to change our outlooks.

It’s perhaps a blessing in disguise that we’re away from home this weekend with Sixfields becoming a melting pot of exasperation in recent games and the players simply not performing in front of their home support. On the road we’ve actually become more effective and it’s no surprise that Chris Wilder forged a playoff push this season with Oxford United on the back of results away from home.

The bad news for us is that we only have three away games left out of six so the need for the form to continue is absolutely huge as we head to face an Accrington side that have climbed to 15th in recent weeks and are nine points clear of the Cobblers. Their thoughts will all be geared towards beating us and claiming what would be a position almost guaranteeing safety by 5pm on Saturday.

A single goal was enough for Stanley last weekend with Kayode Odejayi’s strike earning all three points at Exeter and they’ve lost just once in seven games coming into this crunch game.

If there is to be that piece of magic or moment that turns our emotions on their head then it needs to happen right now – we can ill afford anything like the performance of last weekend to happen again. If it does, then the light becomes a flicker rather than a ray of hope…

Team News…

Accrington have no new injury concerns ahead of the game and a near to full strength squad has trained this week. Defender Adam Buxton came off during last weekend’s win at Exeter with a rib injury but has recovered and should start. Laurence Wilson and Marcus Carver are still missing but they’re the only absentees for the home side.

Cobblers defender Gregor Robertson could be in line for a return after pulling out of last weekend’s defeat against Bury through illness in the hour before kick-off. Joe Widdowson is still missing, though, with the ankle injury that’s kept him out of the last few weeks and he could struggle to make another appearance this season. Kelvin Langmead played his first game since May this week in a behind closed doors friendly with Watford but it’s unlikely that he’ll be risked in the final few games of the season either.

Previous Six Meetings…

30/11/13: Cobblers 1-0 Accrington (League Two)

Loanee Stuart Dallas won the Cobblers the match last time out with the only goal of the game at Sixfields on the half hour mark.

09/03/13: Cobblers 2-0 Accrington (League Two)

Chris Hackett and Roy O’ Donovan struck in the first half of last season’s Sixfields encounter with the Cobblers recording an important victory on the road to the playoffs.

10/11/12: Accrington 2-4 Cobblers (League Two)

Bayo Akinfenwa hit a stunning hat-trick including a memorable diving header to earn a big three points for the Cobblers at the Crown Ground. The big man had given us the lead early on before George Miller and Romy Boco turned the game in the home side’s favour. But substitute Jake Robinson equalised before Bayo took centre stage to score the two goals that won it for Town.

17/03/12: Accrington 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Jamie Devitt put Stanley in front just before half-time before loan striker Brett Williams looked to have earned us a point. But Craig Linfield popped up with three minutes to go to win the game for the hosts as the Cobblers battled relegation at the end of the 2011/12 season.

06/08/11: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)

The opening day of that season saw the sides cancel each other out on a frustrating afternoon. Jake Robinson went closest for Town with a turn and shot that was cleared off the line in the first half.

02/04/11: Accrington 3-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Accrington took a three goal lead into half-time through Ian Craney’s double strike and Sean McConville. Michael Jacob’s second half goal wasn’t enough to prevent a big defeat at the Crown Ground.

The man in the middle…

Taking charge at the Crown Ground will be Fred Graham who was the official for Town’ 2-1 win at Newport County in December. His last Accrington game was their 0-0 draw at Plymouth Argyle back in September.


It’s getting towards the point of no return but while there’s time on the clock and games to play I’m not giving this up. Away from home we seem to play with a bit more freedom at the moment and that’s understandable given the home pressures. So I’m going for it this week – 1-0 to the Cobblers.

Northampton Town v Bury: Match Preview


Northampton Town v Bury

League Two

Saturday, March 29th 2014

Having come so close to drawing level with those above the relegation zone’s ever thinning line on Tuesday night, the Cobblers welcome Bury to Sixfields on Saturday afternoon looking to drag the Shakers right into the relegation battle once again.

Bury were on the way out of danger about a month ago but March hasn’t been kind to them with no wins from seven games in a run that’s seen them draw five times and lose twice. That’s left them four points ahead of the Cobblers who themselves have been suffering from too many draws in recent weeks having also shared the points on five occasions in March.

There are now four ex Town players in the Bury squad to add extra spice to this game after Hallam Hope signed on loan this week and he joins Clive Platt, Lewis Young, and Nathan Cameron to make their returns tomorrow. Another man facing his former club is Cobblers assistant manager Alan Knill who was the top boss at Gigg Lane between 2008 and 2011 before he moved on to Scunthorpe United.

Plenty of handshakes and reunions then but there’s no room for niceties in an absolutely massive relegation clash that the Cobblers simply have to win after that late heartache on Tuesday night. Time to hold those nerves again for another emotional Saturday afternoon…

Team News…

The Cobblers welcome back John Marquis after the striker returned on loan from Millwall this week and he goes straight into the squad. Only five of our six loan players will be allowed in the squad though with Marquis, Zander Diamond, Cristian Lopez, Evan Horwood, Emile Sinclair and Brennan Dickenson all vying for those spots.

Bury have signed former Cobblers loan striker Hallam Hope until the end of the season and also brought in Barnsley striker Danny Rose on a similar deal with both players pushing for starts. Elsewhere, midfielder Tom Soares is hoping to be fit after a hamstring injury.

Previous Six Meetings…

14/12/13: Bury 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

David Flitcroft’s first game in charge of Bury ended in a draw back in December after Dean Howell’s own goal handed the Cobblers a point. Daniel Nardiello’s spot kick had given the hosts the lead a few minutes earlier after a Ricky Ravenhill foul on Craig Jones,

09/04/11: Cobblers 2-4 Bury (League Two)

Bury stunned the Cobblers in April 2011 by going four up inside an hour thanks to goals from Ryan Lowe, Damien Mozika and two from Nicky Ajose. Shaun Harrad’s brace got us back some pride but the points went back to Gigg Lane as Bury took a giant leap towards League One.

21/08/10: Bury 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Steve Guinan’s penalty put the Cobblers in front on the half hour mark but David Worrall’s second half goal meant that the points were shared.

08/05/10: Cobblers 1-1 Bury (League Two)

On the final day of the 2009/10 season and with the Cobblers chasing an unlikely playoff berth, Ryan Lowe’s goal on the stroke of half time sunk any hopes of a dramatic end to the campaign. The second half saw Bury’s James Poole sent off before Bayo Akinfenwa scored with his final touch of the ball in that spell as a Cobblers player to give us a draw.

10/10/09: Bury 2-2 Cobblers (League Two)

An excellent fight back from Town in October 2009 as David Worrall and Ryan Lowe’s goals were cancelled out by second half strikes from Courtney Herbert and Bayo Akinfenwa.

28/01/06: Bury 0-2 Cobblers (League Two)

The Cobblers had this game sealed before half time as an own goal from Andy Parrish and an Andy Kirk effort gave us the lead before the sending off of Bury’s Nathan Jarman gave us the platform to ease through the second half and claim an important three points.

The man in the middle…

In charge at Sixfields on Saturday will be Stephen Martin who was the official for this season’s FA Cup First Round game at Bishop’s Stortford in November. At the end of that month he also refereed Bury’s 2-2 draw at Exeter. Martin has showed forty nine yellow cards and two red so far this season.


The good money is on the draw for this one if our recent form is anything to go by but if the crowd are behind us from the off then I can see us getting in front and frantically trying to hold on at the end. Nerves will be jangling but I’m staying positive…1-0.

Morecambe v Northampton Town: Match Preview


Morecambe v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, March 22nd 2014

We’ve ticked down to just nine games to go in the 2013/14 season and if it isn’t to end in relegation to the Conference then the Cobblers are going to have to get right back on track very soon.  Welcoming Town this weekend are a Morecambe side licking their own wounds after a 5-1 trouncing at one of our relegation rivals Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night that manager Jim Bentley called “embarrassing”.

Home form has been better recently for the Shrimps, though, with just one defeat at the Globe Arena since the turn of the year. They’ve also won the last two games there, a 2-1 success against Southend United and a 4-1 hammering of Newport County so we’re in for a challenge if that side of them turns up on Saturday.

Maybe going away from home is a good thing for the Cobblers at the moment with some lethargy from three sides of Sixfields on Tuesday night reflecting a dismal performance on the pitch. That simply has to change and this could turn into a pivotal weekend in the season – if we end up six points from safety by the end of the day with eight games to go then you really have to start asking questions about whether it’s acceptance time but if it goes the other way then three points could bring us back some of the belief that’s been lost in some quarters.

We can do nothing but hope.

Team News…

Morecambe brought in defender Ryan Edwards on a one month loan deal on Friday with the 20-year-old going straight into the squad to face the Cobblers. Andy Fleming is also back in contention after returning from a two match suspension. Andy Parrish will be missing with a knee problem, though, whilst Shaun Beeley is out with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Stuart Drummond is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season with a fractured toe.

The Cobblers have received a boost ahead of the game with Zander Diamond being passed fit. The defender suffered a pelvis injury during Tuesday night’s game with Rochdale and had to be withdrawn at half time but he’s ready to face Morecambe on Saturday.

Previous Six Meetings…

28/09/13: Cobblers 0-0 Morecambe (League Two)

A tame goalless draw at Sixfields earlier this season as both sides cancel each other out.

12/03/13: Morecambe 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

Jack Redshaw’s goal looked like winning this fixture last season but a Kelvin Langmead special of a last minute goal earned us a point.

20/11/12: Cobblers 3-0 Morecambe (League Two)

After a goalless first half, Bayo Akinfenwa set the wheels in motion for an eventual comfortable win at Sixfields. An own goal from Kevin Ellison on the hour mark and a late strike from Ishmel Demontagnac sealed an important three points for the Cobblers.

07/01/12: Morecambe 1-2 Cobblers (League Two)

The Cobblers picked up a good away win at Morecambe soon into Aidy Boothroyd’s tenure as Town boss. John Johnson put us in front before loanee Akwasi Asante doubled the lead just after half-time. Kevin Ellison got one back but we held out for a solid three points.

27/08/11: Cobblers 0-2 Morecambe (League Two)

The reverse fixture earlier that season saw two first half goals – one from Phil Jevons and the other a Laurence Wilson penalty – earn Morecambe all three points as they built on a good start to the season.

07/05/11: Morecambe 1-2 Cobblers (League Two)

On the final day of the 2010/11 season there wasn’t a lot to play for but Gary Johnson picked up a rare win as Cobblers boss with Kevin Thornton giving Town the lead. Ben Tozer sealed it late on before Niall Cowperthwaite netted a late consolation for the hosts.

The man in the middle…

Taking charge of this one is Chris Sarginson who was the referee for the recent 2-1 win at Torquay United. His last Morecambe game was their 3-2 win at Newport County back in September.


It’s a game that we really, really need to take three points from like every game is from now on and with Morecambe still undecided on whether they plan to fight relegation or go for the playoffs it’s one we could get something from. They’re strong at home so I can’t see any more than a point for Town which would leave us looking nervously at other results once again. 1-1.

Northampton Town v Mansfield Town: Match Preview

sixfieldspanoramaNorthampton Town v Mansfield Town

League Two

Saturday, March 15th 2014

We’ve reached the stage where one more win would bring us right to the brink of escaping the relegation zone. For weeks the Cobblers have been clawing back the gap, winning games but then discovering other results going against us and desperately hanging on but now it’s starting to become more and more in our own hands.

With Exeter not playing till Sunday this weekend, there’s a huge incentive for Town to strike huge fear into them by claiming all three points against a Mansfield Town side who are themselves still peering over their shoulder. Indeed, a Cobblers win would bring the Stags back to within two points and also drag a few other clubs properly into the mix so it’s another massive weekend.

After a decent enough start to life back in League Two, Mansfield’s slide began with five defeats in a row in November before another three games without a win in December. The run was ended with victory over Cheltenham Town in the final game of 2013 and since then it’s been a stabilising job for Paul Cox as he looks to avoid taking his club back to where they came from last May. They’ve been as unpredictable as any League Two side since the turn of the year and that makes them pretty dangerous to the Cobblers.

There’s new found hope at Sixfields these days, though, and Chris Wilder has clearly instilled something in his men to enable them to put a good enough run together to reach this pivotal moment in the season. Every game is huge from now on but after this one is through and we’re faced with just ten games to play we’ll have a much better idea on how things are going to pan out.

Nerves at the ready…

Team News…

The Cobblers welcome back Ricky Ravenhill after the midfielder served his one match ban on Tuesday night at Exeter with Gary Deegan likely to be the man sacrificed. John Marquis was recalled by Millwall this week with the Championship side activating a 24 hour recall clause in his loan deal. He was swiftly replaced by new loanee Cristian Lopez who joins from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season. Lopez has spent a brief spell on loan at Shrewsbury Town earlier this season, scoring once in five outings before returning to his parent club. He goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s game. Joe Widdowson, meanwhile, remains a doubt with his ankle injury.

Mansfield full back Darryl Westlake could be included in the Stags’ squad after it was revealed that he didn’t tear his hamstring in the defeat to York City on Tuesday night as first feared. One man who will be missing, though, is Ritchie Sutton, who has a hamstring injury that looks set to keep him out for up to three weeks.

Previous Six Meetings…

21/09/13: Mansfield 3-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Earlier this season the Cobblers had one of those away days that we’d unfortunately become accustomed to as the Stags eased to a comfortable win. Ben Hutchinson put them in front on the half hour mark before Sam Clucas made it two just a few minutes later. An own goal on his debut by Mathias Doumbe sealed a miserable day for Town.

18/03/06: Mansfield 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Richard Barker scored the only goal of the game the last time the sides met in 2006 at Field Mill but the Cobblers would still go on to win promotion a couple of months later.

26/12/05: Cobblers 1-0 Mansfield (League Two)

David Hunt’s goal was enough to give the Cobblers a narrow win on Boxing Day 2005.

01/01/05: Cobblers 2-1 Mansfield (League Two)

Former Cobblers striker Derek Asamoah was sent off two minutes before half time for Mansfield for diving but the away side took the lead as Paul Warne’s corner was met by David Rowson who nodded into his own net. But the Cobblers hit back in the second half when Trevor Benjamin made the most of a couple of deflections to fire us level and Martin Smith headed in for the winner with fifteen minutes to play.

05/09/04: Mansfield 4-1 Cobblers (League Two)

The first meeting since the playoff semi-final a few months earlier saw Mansfield hammer the Cobblers. Derek Asamoah, who had swapped Sixfields for Field Mill in the summer, headed his new side in front before Eric Sabin levelled briefly. Before the break Wayne Corden made it 2-1 and the home side never looked back. Second half goals from future Cobbler Colin Larkin and (a second from) Corden confirmed a big home win.

20/05/04: Mansfield 1-3 Cobblers – Mansfield win 5-4 on penalties (League Two Playoff Semi-Final, Second Leg)

An extraordinary second leg of the playoffs saw the Cobblers come from two goals down on aggregate with three goals either side of half time. Marc Richards got the ball rolling before Chris Hargreaves levelled the tie just before the break. In our first attack of the second half, Martin Smith curled in for 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate to send the thousands of Town fans into a state of delirium but there were more twists to come. Tom Curtis appeared to foul Eric Sabin on the half way line but incredibly the decision went the other way with Curtis popping up to lash in just seconds after he could easily have been sent off! Derek Asamoah was brought down late on but there was nothing giving from referee Phil Crossley and Mansfield went on to win the penalty shoot-out with Sabin missing the crucial kick for Town. The most emotional game of football that I have ever seen and one that may not be matched for a long time!

The man in the middle…

The referee for this one is Andy Haines who last took charge of a Cobblers game in another crucial home game in March 2012 when we were again fighting relegation. On that day we saw off Aldershot Town 3-1 so hopefully we’ll have a similar outcome on Saturday!


This is the big chance to close the gap from three points to zero points and to really pile the pressure on Exeter who don’t play until Sunday. Mansfield need the points as well as they’re in the clutch of teams just above the drop zone but fingers crossed for our momentum to continue. 2-1.

Scunthorpe United v Northampton Town: Match Preview

glanford park

Scunthorpe United v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, March 8th 2014

If the Cobblers are going to take their recent upturn in results from Sixfields to the road then they’ll have to produce one hell of a performance on Saturday afternoon. Hosts Scunthorpe United are eighteen games unbeaten and in a group of sides vying for top spot and promotion from League Two. Chris Wilder will need his team to be at their very, very best if they’re to keep up a run that’s taken them off the bottom and to within four points of safety.

Scunthorpe’s long run without defeat came under threat last weekend with Newport County taking the lead against them at Rodney Parade but goals from Paddy Madden and David Syers turned it around. County grabbed a point late on through Chris Zebroski but it still represented a decent return for Russ Wilcox’s men.

Wilcox himself is, of course, a former Cobbler having played over 100 times for the club between 1986 and 1990 and will be hoping to keep up the outstanding form he’s brought to the side since replacing Brian Laws as boss back in November. Wilcox is yet to suffer a loss as manager and won’t want to lose that record against his old employers.

Heading up Scunny’s attack is prolific front man Sam Winnall who has scored eighteen goals this season and is the league’s leading marksman with Wilcox challenging him this week to make it to thirty by the end of the campaign.

For the Cobblers, after seven points from three home games it’s a huge test to get back on the road and to try and get something from Glanford Park. The odds are well and truly against us but with some renewed spirit in the camp you just never know…

Team News…

Scunthorpe winger Gary McSheffrey is still a doubt ahead of the game with a back problem which kept him to a place on the bench for last weekend’s draw at Newport County. The hosts will also still be without Andy Welsh who has suffered a setback in his attempts to return from an Achilles injury. Deon Burton is the only other casualty as he misses out again with a calf problem.

The Cobblers will again wait on the fitness of Joe Widdowson but with Gregor Robertson putting in a couple of good shifts at left back recently there’s no guarantee of the left back getting straight back into the side on his return. Danny Emerton and Antonio German both left Sixfields this week so there could be a push back up the pecking order for youngster Ivan Toney with Chris Wilder hinting at more of a role for the striker this week.

Previous Six Meetings…

07/09/13: Cobblers 1-1 Scunthorpe (League Two)

After a poor start to this season, the Cobblers held Scunthorpe to a draw in early September to halt a run of four straight defeats in all competitions. Niall Canavan put the visitors in front mid-way through the second half but Clive Platt equalised with a rare goal with twelve minutes to go.

21/04/09: Cobblers 3-3 Scunthorpe (League One)

Jason Crowe put the Cobblers in front late in the first half but before the break Liam Trotter grabbed an equaliser for the visitors. Grant McCann’s spot kick had the Iron in front but Ikechi Anya levelled the game again on the hour mark. Matt Sparrow looked to have won it for his side but the Cobblers again pulled it back when Mark Hughes headed in a Danny Jackman corner to keep League One survival hopes alive.

13/12/08: Scunthorpe 4-4 Cobblers (League One)

In one of our most dramatic games in recent memory, Scunthorpe looked to be on the way to an easy win when they moved into a 4-1 lead thanks to braces from Ben May and Gary Hooper with Scott McGleish’s strike seemingly only a consolation when he scored in the midst of that pummelling. But Giles Coke made it 4-2 before Danny Jackman gave us real hope just before the hour mark. Jackman then completed an astonishing comeback when Jackman scored direct from a corner with five minutes to go!

09/04/07: Cobblers 2-1 Scunthorpe (League One)

A memorable Easter Monday saw hundreds of Cobblers fans march from Northampton Guildhall to Sixfields in protest of the council’s delays of the stadium redevelopment before the game. Scunthorpe went into the game knowing that a win would earn them promotion from League One but Alex Pearce, on loan from Reading, converted David Hunt’s corner to put us in front. Billy Sharp equalised mid-way through the second half but deep, deep into stoppage time came a memorable Sixfields moment as Jordan Robertson’s cross was fired in at the back post by Bradley Johnson to earn three points towards League One safety. Johnson was then sent off for his celebrations but the majority of Sixfields weren’t too fussed!

18/11/06: Scunthorpe 1-0 Cobblers (League One)

A much calmer meeting earlier that season saw the Iron take all three points thanks to an Andy Crosby penalty with four minutes to play at Glanford Park.

09/04/05: Cobblers 1-2 Scunthorpe (League Two)

Andy Kirk put the Cobblers in front early on at Sixfields but the lead wouldn’t last long as Paul Hayes equalised ten minutes later. Richard Kell netted what turned out to be the winner twenty minutes in with Town struggling to find a response.

The man in the middle…

Kevin Wright is the referee at Glanford Park on Saturday. His last Cobblers game was the 3-2 home defeat to Burton Albion on Boxing Day 2011 during which he sent of Town’s John Johnson early on. He also refereed another 3-2 home reverse in March 2011 against Shrewsbury Town while his last Scunthorpe game came during their last season in the Championship – a 2-0 home loss against Middlesbrough in November 2010.


An away game against a high flyer should take us down to earth after this recent mini revival at Sixfields. Scunny always cause us problems and this will be no different – they’re flying and en route to promotion so anything here would be an absolute bonus. That being said, we’ve at least given ourselves a sense that we can give most a good game these days and, maybe more in hope than expectation, I’m going for a draw. 1-1.


Northampton Town v Hartlepool United: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Hartlepool United

League Two

Saturday, February 22nd 2014

It’s the start of three home games in a row and the unofficial start of the final straight of the season. Sixteen games remain with ten of them coming at Sixfields so you don’t need to be a mastermind to figure out what needs to be done. Town haven’t won a game at home in 2014 and while only three have been played due to postponements it’s still something that has to change now. The defeat at Fleetwood last time out makes it that bit more imperative that we pick up at least six or seven points from the coming weeks’ football to put us at least back in touching distance with the other relegation candidates, a few of whom we play in the coming fixture back log.

The first of a trio of massive encounters sees Hartlepool United rock up into town with more than a passing glance at the playoffs coming from Victoria Park. The Monkey Hangers sit in ninth place and are six points off the top seven but confidence is building after an unbeaten February so far. That run included an excellent 3-0 win over Newport County last weekend before Tuesday night’s decent 1-1 draw at Roots Hall against Southend United. They had to come from a goal behind in that one as Bradley Walker’s long range volley pegged the Shrimpers back after Barry Corr’s opener just before the break.

Colin Cooper is still cutting his teeth in the hot seat with the appointment last May his first as a full time manager having previously only taken caretaker charge at Middlesbrough and Bradford City. The rebuilding job has been a steady one, though, and it’s a credit to the former ‘Boro, Millwall and Nottingham Forest defender that he’s managed to stabilise the club after last seasons’ relegation from League One. They still harbour hopes of making a return at the first attempt and will be looking for three big points on Saturday.

The Cobblers, though, need to be fired up and have to bring the home support with them. Get it right in the three games at Sixfields this week and we’ll start to believe again that the great escape can be built on the sort of form that saw us clamber into the playoffs this time a year ago.

It’s now or never…

Diamond...new addition

Diamond…new addition

Team News…

The Cobblers were dealt another blow this week with the news that Lee Collins will be out for the rest of the season with a foot tendon injury. Chris Wilder has worked quickly to bring in a replacement with an emergency loan deal for Burton Albion’s former Scotland Under 21 international Zander Diamond sealed in time for Saturday’s game. Diamond started his career with Aberdeen and after over 200 appearances for the club moved south to Oldham Athletic in 2011 before moving to Burton a year later, playing a big part in their run to the League Two playoffs last season. Diamond goes straight into the squad for this one. Gregor Robertson also comes back into contention for a defensive place after missing out last weekend.

Elsewhere, Emile Sinclair and Alan Connell will be hoping to reclaim starting berths after both were benched in a switch of tactics at Fleetwood.

For Hartlepool, Neil Austin is still struggling to recover from a toe injury suffered when making a goal bound block in a match against Scunthorpe United recently. Austin has missed the last three games and though he’s stepped up his recovery he remains a doubt for the visitors. Apart from that, though, the visitors have no fresh injury worries and could name an unchanged side.

Previous Six Meetings…

23/11/13: Hartlepool 2-0 Cobblers (League Two)

The Cobblers came close to breaking the deadlock earlier this season at Victoria Park when Luke Norris crashed a header against the post but the home side took the lead mid-way through the first half through Luke James. Just after half time the game was made safe when Mathias Doumbe felled James Poole and Simon Walton beat Matt Duke from the penalty spot.

31/08/10: Hartlepool 4-0 Cobblers (JPT First Round)

A comfortable win for the Pools in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2010 as goals from Evan Horwood, Anthony Sweeney, Andy Monkhouse and Denis Behan sent them into the Second Round.

16/01/09: Hartlepool 2-0 Cobblers (League One)

Joel Porter’s brace helped the hosts to a good win over the Cobblers back in the heady days of League One.

10/10/08: Cobblers 1-0 Hartlepool (League One)

Karl Hawley’s first half goal was enough to give Town victory at Sixfields in a tight contest in October 2008.

22/02/08: Hartlepool 0-1 Cobblers (League One)

This one looked as though it was petering out towards a goalless draw until Giles Coke popped up with a big goal for the Cobblers to nick the three points with just eight minutes to play.

12/01/08: Cobblers 1-1 Hartlepool (League One)

Just over a month earlier and the sides shared the spoils at Sixfields. Liam Dolman had the Cobblers in front early on but Ben Clark netted on the stroke of half time to earn his side a point.

The man in the middle…

Bond… Darren Bond is the official for the clash at Sixfields. He last took charge of a Cobblers game last January in the 1-0 win over Burton Albion and was last the referee for a Hartlepool back in October as the Monkey Hangers beat AFC Wimbledon at Victoria Park. He’s shown 66 yellow cards and 3 reds so far this season.


Things have got to dramatically change at home if we’re going to avoid playing non-league football at Sixfields next season and I’m really hoping it starts with this Saturday to give the home fans a massive lift. Hartlepool are playing well and getting results as they look to gate crash the playoffs and it’ll take a big performance but we could nick it by the odd goal. 1-0.