2012/13

NTFC Season in Review 2012/13

August

The Cobblers kicked off the 2012/13 campaign in a less traditional way than the usual curtain raisers of football seasons. The League Cup began before the league season got under way so the first fixture of the new season would come against Championship side Cardiff City at Sixfields – a stern test for the new crop of Town players.

Aidy Boothroyd had been busy in the transfer market over the summer, releasing many of Gary Johnson’s signings and bringing in his own squad to try and erase memories of another close call the previous season in terms of battling the drop. Michael Jacobs had departed to Derby County whilst the likes of Arron Davies (Exeter), Lewis Young (Yeovil) and Byron Webster (Also Yeovil) were also allowed to leave. Coming in the other way were the likes of Clive Platt, Dave Artell, Ishmel Demontagnac, Alex Nicholls, Chris Hackett and Joe Widdowson whilst Lee Nicholls signed on a season long loan from Wigan Athletic.

Dean Snedker was in goal for the opening game of the season, though, with Widdowson, Artell, Hackett, Platt and Alex Nicholls all starting against the new look Cardiff side who had changed their first choice kit to red over the summer as they began a season that would end in promotion to the Premier League. Heidar Helguson put the visitors in front from the spot early on but Artell marked his debut with the equaliser, heading in before half-time. Alex Nicholls won it for the Cobblers with his own header, beating former Peterborough man Joe Lewis in the Cardiff goal just after the break to send Town through to Round Two.

The first league game of the season came at Spotland with recently relegated Rochdale looking to begin their fight to return to League One at the first attempt. Clive Platt went closest for the Cobblers but both sides cancelled each other out in a goalless draw that reflected a positive start for Aidy Boothroyd’s men.

Back at Sixfields and a quick fire home double header was up next, starting with Steve Evans bringing his new Rotherham side to town. Chris Hackett struck a superb volley in for the opening goal mid-way through the first half but Ben Pringle equalised for the Millers thanks to a big deflection that beat Lee Nicholls just before half-time. It was to be end to end stuff in the second half and it was the Cobblers who nicked it late on thanks to a well taken Alex Nicholls goal after the striker latched on to the end of a flowing move involving Hackett and Platt.

A few days later and Southend United were battling to a dramatic draw at Sixfields with all six goals in a thriller coming in the second half. Britt Assombalonga put the Shrimpers in front before Bayo Akinfenwa scored his first goal of the season to level it up shortly after. Kane Ferdinand made it 2-1 to Southend before Dave Artell scoring his second of the campaign after a mistake from visiting keeper Cameron Belford and Alex Nicholls headed in with four minutes to go with a goal that looked to have won it for Town. But Ryan Cresswell’s header earned his side their first point of the season and denied the Cobblers deep into injury time.

The final game of August saw Wolverhampton Wanderers knock us out of the League Cup at Sixfields. Clive Platt had equalised Danny Batth’s early goal but Frank Nouble put the Championship side back in front in first half stoppage time. A debut goal from Bakary Sako made the win complete right at the death.

That was to be the only black mark against the first month of the season, though, with Town collecting five points from some tough fixtures as well as beating the eventual Championship title winners along the way. It made a change to start pretty positively and we would take an unbeaten league run into September…

League Position (at the end of the month): 9th

Highlight of the month: Making Steve Evans’ frown that bit larger by beating Rotherham at Sixfields

Lowlight of the month: League cup exit and Southend’s late, late equaliser

 

September

After an unbeaten start to the league season, the Cobblers were brought down to earth at Plymouth Argyle in the opening match of September. Alex Nicholls scored the latest in a run of goals to give the Cobblers the lead but Warren Feeney headed in an equaliser just after half-time. Argyle then took complete control and were in front soon after when Rhys Griffiths side footed home. Curtis Nelson’s header made it 3-1 and despite a late consolation from Dave Artell the Cobblers went home with nothing.

The following Tuesday night saw MK Dons come to town for the First Round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and it was to be a platform for Jake Robinson to finally score his first goal for Town, over a year after signing on. His stunning long range effort settled the contest but Robinson was then shipped out on loan to Luton Town a couple of days later!

The real Wimbledon were the next visitors to Sixfields a few days later and the Cobblers again came out on top. Nicholls was on target yet again on the hour mark when he got on the end of a Bayo Akinfenwa through ball to fire in on the hour mark and Chris Hackett’s superb solo goal, seeing him beat two defenders on a winding run before slotting in, sealed a good victory that lifted us into eighth place in the early standings.

A trip to Fleetwood was always going to be a tough examination of the early good form and it got even harder when loan defender Danny East was sent off for the Cobblers on the half hour mark. It looked like we had held out for a solid point but Andy Mangan’s injury time header dramatically won it for the Cod Army in a defeat that was more than a little harsh on the battling ten men.

There was a quick chance to put things right, however, on the following Tuesday at Dagenham and Redbridge and the Cobblers duly obliged with a scrappy 1-0 win thanks to Bayo Akinfenwa’s bullet header from a Chris Hackett corner mid-way through the second half.

Next up was a home game against in form Chesterfield and despite good chances at both ends it ended in a stalemate that the visitors could arguably have won on another day. Jack Lester hit the crossbar in the best effort of a close contest but both sides had to settle for a point.

The final game of September saw the Cobblers travel to Burton Albion and it would be a much more dramatic affair. Calvin Zola put the Brewers in front early on before a Kelvin Langmead own goal made it 2-0 and the game looked dead in the water. But Langmead went up the other end to score almost immediately and Dave Artell scrambled in the leveller. Zander Diamond put the hosts back in front with ten minutes to go but there was still time for Town to pull it back again when Alex Nicholls scored one of the goals of the season with a wonderful chip to grab a point with seven minutes to play.

It was a hectic month but one that took the Cobblers back into the mid-table clutch of teams, though with so few games played we were still just a couple of points away from the top few sides.

League Position (at the end of the month): 13th

Highlight of the month: Jake Robinson’s wonder goal against the Dons.

Lowlight of the month: The stoppage time sinker at Fleetwood.

 

October

The Cobblers would kick off October by suffering back to back defeats for the first time in the season.

First up, a home game against runaway leaders Gillingham saw us come up short as the Gills continued their 100% away record by winning 2-1 at Sixfields. Deon Burton got on the end of a long ball from keeper Staurt Nelson to put the Gills in front before Jack Payne made it 2-0 with a long range effort. Bayo Akinfenwa scored from a Ben Tozer throw in but there was to be no late fight back.

A trip to struggling Bristol Rovers followed with the Gas going into the game having not won at home all season. That was soon to change as Rovers took advantage of Anthony Charles’ red card for the Cobblers to go on and comfortably win the game thanks to three second half goals. Tom Eaves got the ball rolling before Garry Kenneth made it two shortly after. Bayo got one back with fifteen minutes to go with a carbon copy of his goal against Gillingham but Oliver Norburn headed in the crucial third for the home side.

There was a brighter moment the following Tuesday night when Town put Colchester United out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. The League One side took the lead in the first half with Freddy Sears volleying in past Dean Snedker in the Cobblers goal. But second half goals from Bayo (from the spot) and loanee Henoc Mukendi, with a glancing header, turned it around and we were in the hat for the next round.

Back in the league and there was some catching up to do with Exeter City in town. After two defeats in a row in League Two there was a big emphasis on getting back to winning ways and we did it emphatically. Akinfenwa volleyed in to open the scoring and Kelvin Langmead made it 2-0 before half time. The Grecians threatened to get back into it briefly after the break but Chris Hackett’s free kick was headed in by Alex Nicholls for the cherry on the cake late on.

Next up was the dreaded fixture away at Barnet and with the Bees without a win all season and with Edgar Davids making his first appearance as player/manager this one was always going to go one way. Davids captained his new side to a 4-0 demolition of Town with Krystian Pearce, Andrew Yiadom, John Oster and Anthony Edgar on the score sheet on another dire outing at Underhill to add to a long line of Barnet nightmares!

Bradford were next up at Sixfields and if Aidy Boothroyd was looking for a reaction after the Barnet debacle he certainly didn’t get it as Nahki Wells got his obligatory goal against us to nick it for the Bantams.

The final game of the month, at home to Port Vale, saw an agonising and season changing incident involved Alex Nicholls steal the headlines. Nicholls raced onto a back pass and rounded City keeper Chris Neal to put the Cobblers in front but just as he put the ball in the net Vale defender John McCombe clattered into him and broke his leg, ending Nicholls’ season in the process. There was a fifteen minute delay as Nicholls was taken away in an ambulance and some unsavoury scenes of Vale fans abusing Nicholls as he lay on the floor didn’t help matters. Nicholls’ team mates went on to win the game 2-0 (McCombe was sent off for the challenge) with his replacement Louis Moult finishing well for the second goal but all thoughts on that day were with the striker who had, until that point, led the club’s scoring charts and contributed a major part to some of the early season successes.

The Cobblers ended the month in the bottom half and needed a big month of November to get back in the running.

League Position (at the end of the month): 14th

Highlight of the month: The 3-0 home win over Exeter City.

Lowlight of the month: Nicholls’ injury and all that came with it.

 

November

It had been a tough month of October so November needed to be one where we kicked on again but it wouldn’t be easy with injuries mounting and youngsters being given a place in the starting line-up on a more regular basis.

Alex Nicholls had just had his season ended during the home game with Port Vale but Louis Moult continued his claims to take his place up front as he notched the equaliser in the opening game of the month against Bradford City in the FA Cup First Round. Will Atkinson had given the Bantams the lead but Moult got on the end of a Danny East cross to head home and earn a replay.

A trip to York City was up next and it was all going downhill when Matty Blair gave the hosts the lead and then Moult was sent off for a lunge on Chris Smith. But Bayo Akinfenwa saved the day, and a point, for the Cobblers in the second half, pouncing on a mistake from City keeper Michael Ingham to hand us a point.

There followed one of the more memorable games of the season at Accrington Stanley and for Akinfenwa it would be one to treasure. The big man put Town in front but goals from George Miller and Rommy Boco turned the game in Stanley’s favour. The Cobblers weren’t done yet, though, and substitute Jake Robinson – having just returned from a loan spell at Luton Town – levelled before Bayo’s big moments came. He headed home an Emyr Huws cross to make it 3-2 and then scrambled in his third of the game to seal a first ever career hat-trick. The header for 3-2 was something of sheer beauty and the victory gave the team a much needed boost in a busy period.

The Bradford replay the following Tuesday was full of drama with the Cobblers fielding a notably youthful side featuring the likes of Lewis Hornby, Lewis Wilson and, later, Ivan Toney. Will Atkinson, scorer at Sixfields in the first game, put his side in front again but Ishmel Demontagnac equalised before the break. In the final minute of normal time, Bradford won a penalty and Nahki Wells looked certain to have put his side in the Second Round by scoring it but the Cobblers went straight up the other end to make it 2-2 through Clive Platt which sent the game to extra time. Kelvin Langmead produced a moment of magic from distance with ten minutes of extra time to go but Town couldn’t quite hold on, succumbing to a Carl McHugh header in the dying seconds which took it to penalties. That was all we had left in the tank and Langmead missed the crucial spot kick to send Bradford through but it was a magnificent effort from the young Cobblers side.

Back to league action and Wycombe Wanderers were next up at Sixfields. It was to be another good home performance as Bayo scored twice, one a penalty, before Chris Hackett made it 3-0. Wycombe grabbed one back through a spot kick of their own, converted by Joel Grant, but Town had done enough to seal an important three points.

There was another good chance for more points a few days later with Morecambe in town and the Cobblers duly obliged with another comfortable victory. It took until the 56th minute for us to get off the mark but it was Bayo who was on target once more with a header from a Ben Tozer throw in – a combination that was yielding plenty of goals already. Kevin Ellison headed into his own net from another Tozer throw before Ishmel Demontagnac’s late free kick put the seal on a 3-0 win.

After two good home wins it was back to the road for the final game of the month at Oxford United. James Constable had the home side in front early on with a simple tap in and they could have had more in the first half. Clive Platt looked to have given the Cobblers a point with a goal fifteen minutes from time but John-Paul Pittman arrowed in his first goal in ten months to edge us out at the Kassam Stadium.

It had been a busy but reasonably successful month for the Cobblers who were now back in the top half and into the top ten thanks to some improving form as Christmas approached.

League Position (at the end of the month): 10th

Highlight of the month: Bayo’s hat-trick, particularly the diving header, at Accrington.

Lowlight of the month: The FA Cup penalty shoot-out defeat at Bradford.

 

December

As December began, the Cobblers appeared to be putting last season’s relegation battle well and truly behind them and we found ourselves fighting for position at the right end of the table.

The month began poorly though with a disappointing exit from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at home to League One Leyton Orient thanks to three second half goals in quick succession of one another. David Mooney’s brace knocked the stuffing out of us and then Michael Symes wrapped things up for the O’s with a penalty fifteen minutes from time. Orient would go on to reach the area Final before losing out to Southend United.

Back in League Two and it looked like Town were on the way to getting right back on track when we took a two goal lead against high flying Cheltenham at Sixfields. Bayo Akinfenwa opened the scoring before Billy Jones’ own goal made it two within fifteen minutes. But the Rubies fought back and Darren Carter’s close range effort halved the deficit. Chris Zebroski headed in from a Jones cross to level things up before half-time and with ten minutes to go Darryl Duffy, on as a late sub for Zebroski, slotted in the winner to complete a memorable turn around for his side.

One of the key turning points of the season came next as the Cobblers travelled to Torquay United. Former Cobbler Ryan Jarvis put the Gulls in front and it looked like it was to be four defeats in a row for Aidy Boothroyd’s men until Kelvin Langmead scrambled in a last minute equaliser to earn his side a much needed point.

Because of postponements, the home game with Aldershot Town ended up being the final game that the Cobblers played in 2012 and the year was to end on a high as goals from Jake Robinson and an injury time second from Clive Platt earned a solid 2-0 win that built on the momentum of the point at Plainmoor.

As 2013 beckoned, we were still battling in the top half of the table and were creeping that bit closer to the playoff places with just two places and one point separating us from the top seven.

League Position (at the end of the month): 9th

Highlight of the month: Langer’s injury time leveller at Torquay – a massive moment in the season.

Lowlight of the month: Cheltenham coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Sixfields.

 

January

2013 kicked off with a home game against Dagenham and Redbridge and the Cobblers would start the new year in style. Abu Ogogo scored an own goal to give us the lead and Chris Hackett had made it two before half-time with a fine finish. Ben Tozer’s long throw resulted in Kelvin Langmead sealing it with a third just after the break and despite a Scott Doe deflected effort at the other end beating Lee Nicholls Town had three points to start the year with.

We were back at Sixfields again four days later with sixth placed Fleetwood Town the visitors. Jake Robinson continued a good run of form by netting a first half brace that gave us another 2-0 half time lead. Clive Platt added a third and just as the week before the visitors got a late consolation, with Jamie Allen firing in for the Cod Army. It was back to back wins, though, for the Cobblers and Sixfields was starting to become a fortress with the beginning of a home run that would be the backbone of a push for promotion.

It was form on the road holding us back, though, and there was no more prime example than a trip to Chesterfield that saw us down and out within twenty five minutes. Marc Richards got his inevitable goals against his former club after Jay O’ Shea had put the Spireites in front and it was game over before we’d even go going with one saving grace that it got no worse than 3-0.

There was better things to come back at home, though, as a patient Cobblers battled to a 1-0 win over fellow playoff chasers Burton Albion with Bayo Akinfenwa’s header from a Tozer throw in enough to take us into the playoff places in League Two.

Snow was playing havoc with the fixture list with the Burton game only getting the go ahead late on and we would play in a complete snow storm at Aldershot the following Tuesday with the famous orange ball getting a run out! Daniel Lopez scored for the hosts after just two minutes but the Cobblers turned things around when Chris Hackett scored from the spot and Clarke Carlisle headed in from a corner. The victory took us momentarily into the top three with a promotion challenge now a genuine possibility.

The final game of January was a tough one, though, at high flying Gillingham and Town succumbed to goals at the start and end of the game by Cody McDonald and Myles Weston. That win took the Gills back to the top of League Two whilst the Cobblers dropped to fourth place, though it had been an excellent month for the club.

League Position (at the end of the month): 4th

Highlight of the month: The snowy win at Aldershot.

Lowlight of the month: The 3-0 first half collapse at Chesterfield.

 

February

After defeat at one promotion rival, Gillingham, at the end of January, the Cobblers travelled to another at the start of February with Rotherham the destination this time. The Millers were on a three game losing run going into the game but that was ended when Daniel Nardiello’s spot kick was added to by Ben Pringle and David Noble late in the game to give them all three points. Clarke Carlisle got one back in stoppage time for a Cobblers side struggling to find momentum away from Sixfields.

We were still well involved in the running for the top seven despite the back-to-back defeats and Sixfields was starting to become a fortress with Rochdale the next visitors. Clive Platt headed in from a Chris Hackett cross to give the Cobblers the lead but Jason Kennedy had ‘Dale, back on form after the return of Keith Hill as manager a few weeks earlier, on level terms. The scores didn’t remain level for long, though, as Kelvin Langmead grabbed the latest in a line of goals by poking in from close range. With fifteen minutes to go, Chris Hackett was tripped and Bayo Akinfenwa stepped up to seal the points.

There was an interesting sub-plot to the next fixture, away at Southend, with the Shrimpers’ mercurial talent Bilel Mohsni returning to the side for the first time in nine months. The controversial figure was always likely to leave his mark on the game and it proved to be in our favour when he was sent off half an hour in, this after new loan signing Roy O’Donovan had given the Cobblers the lead. There was never going to be a better chance to get back on track away from home for Town but Matty Lund equalised for the ten men mid-way through the second half. We looked to have let a massive chance go until that man Langmead once again headed in a stoppage time goal to nick a crucial victory and we were back in the playoff places having been knocked out of them in midweek thanks to others playing when we didn’t.

Next up was another away day, this time at AFC Wimbledon on a chilly Tuesday night. The game was delayed when the stadium’s lights went out just fifteen minutes before kick-off and when it did get going the Cobblers were slow out of the blocks. Alan Bennett gave the home side the lead as they looked to leap off the foot of the table but after a second half reshuffle by Aidy Boothroyd Town got back into gear and won a penalty through O’Donovan being brought down by veteran keeper Neil Sullivan. Akinfenwa stepped up to coolly slot in the spot kick and to earn a point, though Chris Hackett could easily have won it late on.

Still, four points from two away games was a big improvement and now we had to back it up at Sixfields again with two home games seeing out the month. First up came Plymouth Argyle and in a tight contest, Clive Platt got the only goal after a mistake from Jake Cole allowed him to scramble the ball home.

Bristol Rovers provided the last opposition of February and it was a similar, if more dramatic, story for this one with Town leaving it very, very late to win it through a neatly taken Ben Harding chip which meant that it was seven victories in a row at Sixfields.

With just eleven games to go we were right in the mix for the top three, sitting just a point away from Burton Albion going into the crucial month of March.

League Position (at the end of the month): 4th

Highlight of the month: Another Langmead moment at Southend, scoring the winner in stoppage time.

Lowlight of the month: The only defeat of the month, 3-1 at Rotherham United.

 

March

March would begin with another hiding away from home as the Cobblers travelled to playoff chasing rivals Exeter City. Lee Nicholls put the ball into his own net in the first half before further goals from Jamie Cureton and Jake Gosling sealed a comfortable victory for the Grecians.

The Sixfields form, however, was still keeping Town afloat in the promotion hunt and Accrington Stanley were the next to be beaten at the fortress thanks to Chris Hackett’s early strike and Roy O’Donovan’s goal on the half hour mark.

Next up we were on the road again, this time visiting a Morecambe side that sat in mid-table with the final furlong of the season beginning. They took the lead just before the hour mark thanks to a well taken Jack Redshaw goal and it looked like we were going home empty handed once again from an away trip until that man Kelvin Langmead fired in yet another late, late goal to snatch a point for Aidy Boothroyd’s men.

The following week Oxford United were the next team to try and break what was turning into a formidable home record and it was a tight, tense affair with the U’s looking for the points that would take themselves back towards playoff contention. It was settled in the end by a coolly taken Ben Harding goal in first half stoppage time and the Cobblers had kept themselves right in the race for a top three finish.

It was a similar story in the final game of the month, a Good Friday clash with Torquay United, though this time the Cobblers left it late to grab the latest home victory. It was on a knife edge until Roy O’ Donovan took the roof off Sixfields with a fine finish with five minutes to go, keeping us in third place as March turned into April.

League Position (at the end of the month): 3rd

Highlight of the month: O’Donovan’s timely goal against Oxford that kept us in the top three.

Lowlight of the month: The defeat at Exeter was another example of a giant collapse away from home.

 

April and May

At the start of April the Cobblers played a game of risk at the top of League Two with a place in the top three hanging by a thread in the opening couple of fixtures. First up was a trip to Cheltenham – a massive six pointer – that saw Steve Elliot’s solitary goal give the Rubies a big win to keep in touch with us in the race for third.

Town had somehow held on to third place with other results going for us and it was a similar story a few days later when Nahki Wells scored the only goal of the game against us at Bradford, continuing his fine run of form against the Cobblers to condemn us to another 1-0 defeat. Somehow, though, other results again went in our favour and with four games to go we were still in the driving seat…just.

That would all change when York City smashed our recent run of home victories by stunning the Cobblers at Sixfields and recording a 2-0 win that finally put us back down in the playoff positions. It would be the beginning of the end in terms of an automatic promotion challenge with Adam Chambers’ early strike doubled by John Johnson’s own goal with five minutes to play earning the Minster Men a crucial victory in their bid to avoid the drop.

The following Tuesday night saw a trip to Wycombe Wanderers give us a chance to get back into contention one final time realistically but a goalless draw wasn’t enough to breath any fresh hope into the challenge.

Port Vale away was up next in the final away league fixture and the hosts were gunning for promotion which they knew would come their way with a victory. Clarke Carlisle hadn’t read the script and put us in front but former Cobbler Liam Chilvers levelled before half-time. Roy O’ Donovan’s screamer momentarily gave us hope of a big victory as he curled in an unstoppable effort from range mid-way through the second half. It looked as though Vale would have to wait for their promotion party but with four minutes to go their former defender Lee Collins sliced the ball into his own net and with results elsewhere going for them, Port Vale knew that a point was enough to send them into League One barring a disastrous turn in goal difference.

For Town, the point at Vale Park confirmed a playoff place and we could now only finish 5th or 6th with home advantage in the playoffs all that was to be at stake come the final game of the season. For visitors to Sixfields Barnet, though, there were much bigger consequences. They would be relegated if they lost and AFC Wimbledon won. The Wombles managed to win their own game to give themselves a chance and the Cobblers scored two good second half goals through Roy O’Donovan and Luke Guttridge to clinch victory and to send Barnet down to the Conference after years of them surviving on the final day.

It meant that we had finished sixth after Rotherham clinched the final automatic promotion place and Cheltenham and Burton Albion both did enough to finish higher than the Cobblers. Cheltenham would provide the opposition for the playoff semi-finals and were the only team standing between us and a trip to Wembley.

The first leg would be played at Sixfields and was as tight as expected but the Cobblers took the lead in the first half thanks to fantastic build up play between Bayo Akinfenwa and Chris Hackett with Hackett crossing for Roy O’Donovan to fire in past Scott Brown in the Cheltenham goal who could and maybe should have done better. Paul Benson nearly equalised right away for the Rubies but the Cobblers would hold out to take a single goal lead to Whaddon Road for the second leg.

Early on in that game Cheltenham had an ideal chance to transform the game after Ben Tozer conceded a debatable penalty in front of the travelling support. But Marlon Pack’s spot kick was superbly saved by Lee Nicholls to keep us narrowly in front. Then came the killer moment in the tie when Bayo knocked the ball down for Luke Guttridge to unleash an unstoppable volley into the net from all of twenty five yards for a 2-0 aggregate lead. The second half saw Cheltenham pile on the pressure but despite hitting the bar and testing Nicholls again on several occasions it was the Cobblers who were heading to Wembley for the first time since 1998.

Excitement built for the next two weeks with tickets selling well and anticipation matching that of the previous two outings at the national stadium but we knew that Bradford City would provide stern opposition after the Bantams, already having visiting Wembley once that season for a remarkable League Cup final appearance, saw off Burton Albion over two legs in the other semi-final.

When the big day arrived it was to be one to forget as soon as the game kicked off as Bradford completely overpowered us and raced into a 3-0 lead before the break and the dreams of 20,000+ Cobblers fans had died a sudden death on the big stage. There was no way back for us despite Akinfenwa coming off the bench in the second half (we will forever question why he was left out of the starting eleven!) and Bradford cruised into League One, leaving us to ponder another campaign in the basement division.

It had, though, been a tremendous improvement on the previous two campaigns and I don’t think many of us would have predicted that the 2012/13 season would end at Wembley after two relegation battles that preceded it. Away form ultimately cost us automatic promotion and a late season injury to captain Kelvin Langmead certainly didn’t help the cause with the Player of the Season winner only returning late in the second leg of the playoff semi-final.

Aidy Boothroyd, though, had got the very best from his players and we now look forward to what will be an interesting summer with Bayo among several players told that they will now be leaving the club at the end of their contracts.

Hopefully by the time I come to write this again in a year’s time we will be celebrating going that crucial next step further after falling at the very last hurdle this time out.

League Position (at the end of the season): 6th

Highlight of April/May: The playoff semi-final victory over Cheltenham that confirmed our trip to Wembley. Also, the Wembley trip up until 1:30pm!

Lowlight of April/May: Wembley post 1:30pm…

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