Things to get excited about…

Rico...back in with a shot?

Rico…back in with a shot?

So it’s pretty much all over for this season with the Cobblers unable to escape the clutches of mid-table and late goal ultimately costing us once again in the defeats to Stevenage and Oxford this week. As soon as Simon Walton’s winner for Stevenage went in last Saturday thoughts immediately turned to next season with no realistic chance of reaching the top seven. A much needed win at Oxford was then snatched away at the death on Tuesday night despite a decent enough sounding performance which included the return, from the bench, of Marc Richards ahead of schedule.

With three games left to play you’d be forgiven for looking ahead to the summer and getting those holidays booked up for the May 23rd now that we know we won’t be busy. But there’s still plenty of interest to come and the Cobblers need to be on their game on two counts – to not end the campaign on a low that leaves us hanging over during the summer and to compete enough to make sure we have some sort of impact. The three games we have left are all against sides at either end of the season with one ‘special’ return tomorrow afternoon. So here’s a few things that will keep up the excitement during three games that may, on paper, look meaningless..

The return of the poisoned dwarf…

The most intriguing of the final fixtures is tomorrow visit from Cheltenham Town and their new boss Gary Johnson. Johnson needs no introduction of course having ‘saved’ us from the drop a couple of years ago despite us being in a reasonably safe position before his arrival, alienated the fans and blamed us when his tenure ended. Town fans have been waiting to come up against him ever since and with the amount on the line for his new charges tomorrow it makes the game extra spicy. The Robins boosted their chances of survival on Tuesday with victory over Cambridge and are now a point from safety. The carrot is there for us to send Johnson’s team a step closer to the Conference but, perhaps more morbidly for Cobblers fans, it’s also there to ensure that Johnson is back at the job centre come May. I personally really like Cheltenham as a club and would take Hartlepool and Tranmere going down any day of the week but this situation’s now like an old friend starting to hang out in dodgy company. The ideal outcome here is a Cobblers win, Cheltenham surviving still and then the Robins board seeing sense and looking elsewhere for their main man in the summer. Either way, it’s going to be tasty!

Ruining a party?

Following Cheltenham there’s a trip to league leaders Burton Albion in the final away game of the season and the Brewers are likely going to be on the brink of clinching the League Two title. A win at Morecambe tomorrow would hand them promotion and leave them within touching distance of clinching top spot. It’s their last home game and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will be desperate to start a party on home turf. We’re probably ideal opponents on paper for that with nothing to play for and nothing at stake but there’s something to be said about arriving at a party, stealing the presents and pegging it.

The nervy Wanderers

Having nothing to play for on the final day is sometimes pretty nice. Wycombe will come to town on May 2nd with promotion still hanging in the balance by all likelihood. The Chairboys (who have done incredibly well to turn things around to challenge this season by the way) could move a step closer to League One if they win at Wimbledon tomorrow but the wild card here is the game on Tuesday night between Bury and Southend., the two sides directly behind Wanderers in the chase. That’s a game in hand for both and depending on events tomorrow (Bury go to Portsmouth and Southend to Exeter) there could be a significant closing of the gap by the time Wycombe come to Sixfields on the last day. So there should be something on it for them and it’s another chance for us to make some noise in the league before the curtains are closed on the season.

The Golden Boot…

As incredible as it could be, despite a number of injuries this season, a returning Marc Richards could yet bag himself the League Two golden boot. With Chris Wilder probably erring on the side of caution he may not get too many minutes on the pitch but with his natural goal scoring ability there’s still an outside chance that he can make up the two goal gap between himself and Matt Tubbs at the top of the scoring charts. Jamie Cureton’s hat-trick a couple of weeks ago shot him into contention while Reuben Reid of Plymouth is also a candidate but Rico is one to keep an eye on in these final three games.

Looking to the future…

Three games with not a lot on the line means that Wilder can plan for next season and we’ll get a decent insight into his plans for certain players based on the squads that compete in these games. It’s not just the immediate future we should be looking at, though, with a few youngsters hopefully getting a chance. Sam Warburton, Ben Jackson, Danny Clifton and Shaun McWilliams have all been given squad numbers and may see themselves getting a chance to shine in an end of season cameo.

There we have it – have I convinced you that there’s still a lot to be excited about or are you not bothering now until August? Well, I tried!

*I had to stop myself from pointing out that we sit seven points from the playoffs with still nine to play for…*

New focus for both sides as Cobblers revisit Wycombe…


Less than six months ago the Cobblers travelled to Adams Park to take on Wycombe Wanderers in what was one of the most tense afternoons of last season’s final run in. It was scrappy, it was passionate, it was often edge of your pants type stuff and a 1-1 draw didn’t do an awful lot for either side’s survival hopes – or so it seemed at the time. We were locked together on 47 points apiece after that one with three games to go with Bristol Rovers also stuck on the same tally. It would, of course, be the Gas who suffered come the final kicks of the campaign but it was such a close run thing that the draw on that day actually did do some good for both the Cobblers and the Chairboys.

It makes it that bit more interesting that we’re now in a battle at the right end of League Two with Wanderers sitting in second place and the Cobblers fifth going into the latest battle between two proud football clubs on Saturday.

Gareth Ainsworth has been able to shape the squad and the biggest difference so far is the defensive record that currently stands as the best in the entire Football League. Wanderers have conceded just six times in their opening ten games and that’s helped them to seven straight games unbeaten with four wins and three draws taken since losing to Tranmere Rovers in mid-August.

They’re also playing some of the best football in the league as well and the general consensus is of a fresh start from a small and tight knit squad at Adams Park. Their only absentee tomorrow is set to be Gary Doherty but Danny Rowe has been recalled by Rotherham United after spending the first few months of the season on loan with the Chairboys.

More good news came this week with the decision from the Football League that Wycombe did not breach third party ownership rules after a complaint from Bristol Rovers that a deal by Wanderers to use sell on clause money to pay debts to former owner Steve Hayes meant that they broke rules. After four months of disputes it will be a big weight lifted from the club and they can move on with what looks like a good shout at promotion.

The Cobblers’ form has been a lot more inconsistent with a 5-1 win followed by a 5-4 defeat and then last Saturday’s 1-0 shut out at Morecambe but we’ve done enough to justify the current position ahead of the weekend and what’s sure to be a stern test of where we’re at. Chris Wilder will want more of what he saw last week defensively and is also looking at bringing top scorer Marc Richards back in after a hamstring injury kept him out at the Globe Arena.

Danny Alfei, Matt Duke, Emile Sinclair, Kelvin Langmead and Zander Diamond top the injury list for Town but the back-up has, in the majority, stepped right up to the plate so far. The test now is for them to string a set of results together that keep them in the top seven – with the run of games coming up that won’t be easy but we’ll have a better idea about the strength of the squad come the start of November.

So it’s a return to the scene of high tension back in April with both sides now looking for three points that would keep them on the road to create heart stopping moments for opposite reasons come the end of this campaign.

Newport County v Northampton Town: Match Preview


Newport County v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, September 13th 2014

There’s a feeling of growing momentum with the Cobblers as we head to Newport this weekend. The last gasp victory over Exeter City was followed, last Saturday, by a solid and brilliantly produced success at Dagenham and Redbridge where a storming first half was followed by a tighter second that helped us to see out three more League Two points. Chris Wilder has put together an exciting and fluent side and it makes a big change for us to be going into weekends genuinely excited about the Cobblers’ prospects.

To continue this good will, a result at Newport will be required and we come up against a side that are finally getting a feel for this season. Justin Edinburgh’s men, in their second season back in the Football League, lost their opening four games in all competitions but the last three have seen them taking a point against highly fancied Burton Albion, win at promotion favourites Portsmouth and nicking a draw at home to Cambridge United in the final minute of the game.

The Exiles were a rare entity to us last season in that Town did the double over them by winning 3-1 at Sixfields in our opening home game and then 2-1 at Rodney Parade back in January under caretaker boss Andy King. This time out there should be less of a surprising feeling should we come away with something from South Wales and with two home games following it up there would be increased excitement should this little upturn in results and performances continue.

Wilder’s biggest problem, in a good way, is in team selection. By all accounts Joel Byrom and debutant Ryan Watson put in an excellent shift at Dagenham in the middle of the park with Ivan Toney and Marc Richards continuing their flourishing partnership up front so you’d still be hard pushed to make a case for John Joe O’Toole to start. Chris Hackett and Kaid Mohammed are providing the ammunition from both wings and are conjuring up some fantastic displays between them to spearhead attacks. They are pretty nailed on to keep their places whilst at the back you would think it’s as you were with Ryan Cresswell easing into the team for his debut at Dagenham too. Emile Sinclair is one to come back into the squad after coming through his ankle injury but Lee Collins and Evan Horwood are both still out.

Newport announced the loan signing of Joe Piggott from Charlton Athletic this week and the striker is set to make his debut against the Cobblers. Piggott came through the ranks at the Valley but has seen first team chances kept to a minimum so far having spent time on loan at Bromley and Gillingham in the last couple of years.

I don’t know about you but I’m enjoying this winning feeling and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue for another weekend if we can capture the very best from what’s been an altogether solid start to the season. Dizzy heights of optimism!

Returning to the home of euphoria…


Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, September 9th 2014

Victoria Road was home to extraordinary scenes back in April as an Ivan Toney inspired Cobblers side produced one of the most memorable away days since our return to League Two and went a long way to ensuring that we stayed in the Football League. Now, with that status ensured and a whole new outlook in place we head back to a hunting ground that’s not just been happy but absolutely joyful over the last few years.

Town have won all four of their games at Dagenham and Redbridge’s home since they made it into the Football League, scoring six and not conceding once. Three 1-0 victories there led us to last season’s 3-0 epic and the Daggers will be looking to put all that to bed on Saturday afternoon. They’re not just going for their first home win over the Cobblers either – Town have dropped just two points against them (a 2-2 home draw last season) in the clubs’ eight meetings.

If they are to stop the rot they’ll need to out manoeuvre new Cobblers signing Ryan Cresswell who goes straight into the side in place of the injured Lee Collins. Cresswell is the closest thing we’ll get to a ‘marquee signing’ at the moment and his experience at this level should be a huge plus for Chris Wilder and co. Fellow loan signing Ryan Watson is also in the squad and should play some part but with Darren Carter also ready to return there’s plenty of competition in the middle of the park. Emile Sinclair is rated as “touch and go” whilst Danny Alfei will miss the game either through injury or, if not that, through a call up to the Wales Under 21s squad.

The Daggers are on a three game unbeaten run having started the season with back to back losses at home to Morecambe and at Burton Albion. A 2-0 win at Hartlepool ignited the campaign and they followed that result up with a home victory over Mansfield Town by the same score line. Last weekend, they came away from Oxford with a point from a 3-3 thriller in which Abu Ogogo netted the crucial equaliser twenty minutes from time.

The hosts have a few injury problems with Zavon Hines, Rhys Murphy, Christian Doidge, Billy Bingham and Josh Clarke all expected to miss the game. Jack Connors will miss the game after being called up to the Republic of Ireland’s Under 21s squad but Damian Batt could make a start after returning in the game at Oxford last week.

I’m cautiously hopeful about this one – Cresswell’s signing has increased the optimism around Sixfields and this will be a good tester for his debut. At the other end, a young man who came of age at Victoria Road last season will hopefully make a big difference again. Whatever has happened in the last few years goes out the window once 3pm comes around but we can still bask in the glory of this for just a bit longer yet…

Beware the wounded Grecian!

IMG_0588.JPGNorthampton Town v Exeter City
League Two
Saturday, August 29th 2014

Saturday’s game with Exeter City provides a realistic chance for the Cobblers to get back into some sort of stride after a late salvation against ten man Shrewsbury and Tuesday’s cup exit at Bournemouth. City have been under a transfer embargo during the summer which has only just been lifted and are without a win so far so on paper it’s a game we need to be looking for victory to stabilise some of the early promise we’ve shown.

But the Grecians possess one or two fine individual players (including Matt Grimes and Christy Pym who were called up to Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under 20s squad this week) and if they’re on their game and up for the fight of getting that first three points they will cause us problems, particularly if we start the game in a similar manner to the second half of last week’s draw. There’ll be no room for any complacency but the reality is that if we want to be challenging at the top end of the table then home games like this need to be won regularly.

The intriguing news on the team front this week has been Emile Sinclair’s transformation from being listed for loan last week to scoring last Saturday and putting in a good show at Bournemouth to being taken off the loan list following the striker’s rejection of a move to Cheltenham Town. Sinclair, to be fair to him, is battling for his place in the face of Ivan Toney’s emergence, Marc Richards’ decent start to his return and the new competition from the likes of David Moyo and Alex Nicholls – though the latter will be sent on loan himself next week it seems.

I would expect Danny Alfei to return to right back after shaking off his injury with Darren Carter also an option to come back into midfield. Just where Carter fits in is a big question. Joel Byrom was solid on his debut and you can’t see John-Joe O’Toole being dropped.

Exeter are likely to start with an unchanged team with Tisdale’s hand forced by a number of injuries to an already small squad. Jordan Moore-Taylor, Danny Butterfield, Tom Nichols, Jamie Reid and Christian Ribeiro are all missing at the moment so it’s set to be the same eleven that took to the field for the 1-1 draw with York City last weekend.

Despite all of that, we all know the Cobblers well enough to know that nothing’s ever that straight forward…

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

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

Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town: Match Preview


Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, April 26th 2014

Whilst nothing will be decided on Saturday afternoon due to the arrangement of fixtures this game could leave us with absolutely everything to do to stay in the Football League or leave it completely in our own hands. The Cobblers have been given the chance to escape the bottom two on numerous occasions over the last couple of weeks, none more so than when we needed just a point on Bank Holiday Monday against Portsmouth.

That game ended in a narrow defeat and so we head into the penultimate round of games still on the edge of our nerves and still unable to break free of those shackles. Dagenham has been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons for the Cobblers and it will need to be just that again if we’re to go into the crunch final game of the season at home to Chris Wilder’s former charges Oxford United on a high and with it in our hands.

Wycombe and Bristol Rovers, the two sides level on points with us going into the weekend, play each other which means that the absolute worst we can end up at the end of Saturday will be one point from safety. It does also mean, though, that any sort of victory would leave us a guaranteed two points clear, three if there’s a loser in the other game.

Dagenham have nothing to play for and nothing at stake but it depends on who you talk to as to whether that’s a good thing or not. Their outside chances of the playoffs were ended a couple of weeks ago when they were beaten at Wycombe and then again at home to Portsmouth but they’re not likely to take their foot off the gas as they look for a good top half finish.

Could we possibly make it FOUR 1-0 away wins in a row at Dagenham? 1-0, 2-1, 5-4, anything will do as long as there’s three points to take to the Oxford game and to leave it firmly in our own hands.

Team News…

Dagenham may be without striker Ade Azeez  who is struggling with a thigh injury but Scott Doe has completed a three match ban and should return to the side.

Emile Sinclair was replaced in the Cobblers attack by Ivan Toney at half time on Monday against Portsmouth and after a decent showing the youngster is pushing for a start. Kelvin Langmead also made another appearance from the bench but that’s where he’s likely to start once again here. Zander Diamond has been passed fit for the weekend and should go straight back into the back four but Joe Widdowson is unlikely to play again this season.

Previous Six Meetings…

19/10/13: Cobblers 2-2 Dagenham and Redbridge (League Two)

Earlier this season, Luke Norris gave the Cobblers the lead just before the half hour mark but the Daggers were in front even before the half time whistle as Zavon Hines and Rhys Murphy completely turned the game on its head. Ian Morris levelled mid-way through the second half but neither side could find a winner.

01/01/13: Cobblers 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge (League Two)

On New Year’s Day 2013, the Cobblers picked up an important home win with Abu Ogogo’s own goal putting us in front and Chris Hackett doubling the lead a few minutes later. Kelvin Langmead made it three early in the second half and despite a Scott Doe consolation Town saw it out for a good victory at Sixfields.

18/09/12: Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Cobblers (League Two)

The latest in a run of 1-0 wins at Dagenham for the Cobblers as Bayo Akinfenwa’s header just into the second half won a tight contest.

13/03/12: Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Cobblers (League Two)

A few months earlier, loanee Toni Silva had given the Cobblers a huge boost in their fight against relegation by scoring the only goal of the game at Victoria Road.

24/09/11: Cobblers 2-1 Dagenham and Redbridge (League Two)

Arron Davies gave the Cobblers a lead at Sixfields and on the hour mark Bayo Akinfenwa doubled the advantage. Oliver Lee nicked a late one for the visitors but Town held out for a good home win.

06/02/10: Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Cobblers (League Two)

The first in the 1-0 away win trilogy at Victoria Road saw John Johnson’s effort win it with twenty minutes to go.

The man in the middle…

Scott Mathieson is the referee at Victoria Road on Saturday having previously took charge of a Cobblers game in the 2-0 defeat at Grimsby Town in the FA Cup second round earlier this season. He was also the official for Dagenham’s 2-2 draw at Morecambe in September of last year.


Anxious, worrying times with everything still hanging completely in the balance. It’s going to the wire no matter what the result here but if we want to be going into the last day knowing that a win would guarantee survival then we have to keep up this run of wins at Victoria Road. Ah, go on then, let’s do it again…1-0. 

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.