The Best yet…

D'Ath...more goals from one of the signings of the season.

D’Ath…more goals from one of the signings of the season.

What more can be said at the moment about the Cobblers and their extraordinary transformation from relegation threatened in late December to the side that’s now the highest scorers in the league, comfortable in mid-table and well and truly firing on all cylinders. After a resounding home win over Newport County came a showcase of how far we’ve come in just one month as a Town side playing for over fifty minutes with ten men produced a staggering 5-1 away win at Accrington Stanley.

It was without doubt the most rounded, confident and dominating win of the season so far and it was made all that bit more impressive by the fact that Ryan Cresswell was given his marching orders in the first half with the Cobblers starting to lose grip on what was a 2-0 lead, halved by the penalty that was converted via a rebound as a result of the dismissal.

I was all set for a backs to the walls performance from there on in and Stanley did make us work for a short period after the break but Town dug in and got a tremendous reward thanks to three more goals, partly handed to us on a plate but partly brilliantly crafted. It was a stunning effort from all involved and means that we’ve gone from being two points from the bottom two on December 28th (after a 2-1 defeat at Tranmere Rovers) to being just seven away from the playoffs by January 31st.

Once again, as has been the case through this whole run, Town relied on bottle at the back, battling midfield displays and goals from a number of different positions and situations. Rico is leading the way and could become the first Cobbler to net the League Two golden boot in years if he carries on this way. Two more at the Crown Ground were added to by the outstanding Lawson D’Ath who also scored twice, and Ricky Holmes.

D’Ath and Holmes have been revelations since cementing their first team places this month and the news that Holmes has signed a permanent deal is a huge bit of business. I can’t remember one game when D’Ath has underperformed and he won’t be with us for long if he carries on the eye catching form he’s currently on.

Everything is really looking up and though we know all too well that things can go to pot as soon as you start to feel that way in football but as we head into deadline day there’s not a lot I can think of that needs changing. Billy Bodin is a decent addition as a squad player who can play in a couple of positions but unless there’s any big injuries – the lack of which also adds to the momentum at the moment – I don’t see a lot changing from a starting eleven that’s not been changed in five games.

It’s still early enough for us to get genuinely interested in the playoffs though it will take an effort just as high as this month’s in the next few weeks for us to register more than just a dream like finale to a season that looked like it was going to the dogs. I have to admit (and can’t hide from it because my words are etched onto this blog!) that I was one of those questioning Chris Wilder a month ago but thankfully he’s proved a lot of people wrong with that huge winter clearance and signings that added heart and desire to a flagging squad.

By the time the home game with Morecambe comes around next week, Wilder may even have the Manager of the Month award threatening to curse him and his rejuvenated players. A month is a long, long time in football!

One step forward, two steps back…

Northampton Town 4-5 Accrington Stanley

League Two

Saturday, September 20th 2014

We should have known not to get complacent…after the hammering of Hartlepool United on Tuesday night we were perhaps in too deep with our optimism. Accrington Stanley at home looked to be the perfect follow up with the chance to leap even further up the table but once again football kicks us right in the teeth in bizarre manner with the visitors making the most of slack defending and the Cobblers unable to make up for it despite more goals in the ‘For’ column.

Some of the goals that Stanley scored were straight out of the dark days … indeed even a couple of the slips were out of the same drawer as the last time nine goals were scored in one game at Sixfields, the 7-2 defeat by Shrewsbury in 2011. It obviously wasn’t as bad as that overall but the shakiness of our defensive work is threatening to put pay to any dreams of finishing in the top seven. All the joy of Tuesday was wiped away by an Accrington side with new direction thanks to the reappointment of John Coleman earlier this week.

Big questions have to be asked about some key positions here. Matt Duke’s injury has hit us more than anticipated. Jordan Archer just doesn’t seem to have a command over his area that Duke does. It’s not completely down to the on loan keeper but a big voice from the back is a key part of defensive organisation and understanding. In front of him, Zander Diamond’s presence was missed too but there’s more pressing issues in the full back position with Gregor Robertson and Danny Alfei getting caught out far too often – indeed both at the same time when they both went for the same ball to let in John O’Sullivan for the crucial third goal of the game after Marc Richards had headed in to cancel out Rob Atkinson’s opener.

If anyone thought that Rico’s latest goal, his seventh in five games, was about to kick start another comfortable game then they were sorely wrong. Stanley followed up O’Sullivan’s strike with a third before the break when Atkinson’s header went in via the post and Archer.

It got no better after half-time as O’Sullivan found space yet again on the right, cut inside and had all the time in the world to fire into the top corner from close range, beating three of four static Cobblers defenders to fire in and stun Sixfields even further. Substitute Ivan Toney scrambled in for 4-2 but the three goal cushion was restored a few minutes later when Sean Maguire got on the end of a knock down to poke in past Archer.

The Cobblers wouldn’t be the Cobblers this season without a bit of late drama but Toney’s second – a header from a Kaid Mohammed cross – and Darren Carter’s 90th minute effort weren’t enough and Accrington held firm for an afternoon they’ll remember for quite some time. Unfortunately, so will we.

Chris Wilder has promised changes for next week’s trip to Morecambe and it doesn’t have to just be personnel changes…when you’re defending at this level it needs to be from the front and full backs have to be protected. Chris Hackett and Mohammed are going to have to change mind sets a little and make sure they’re not leaving the man behind them all at sea – we’re not good enough in that area and teams are going to start to recognise that as we go further into the season. Kevin Ellison will be one man licking his lips ahead of next week’s game at Morecambe and Wilder has a big job on his hands to make sure this sort of madness doesn’t happen again.

With two steps firmly back after all of that, some big readjustments are needed in the coming days.

Cobblers clinging on after huge win at Accrington

Hackett...match winner

Hackett…match winner

Accrington Stanley 0-1 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, April 5th 2014

The Cobblers live to fight another day. League safety is still the same distance away as it was at the start of the day but the victory over Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground was absolutely pivotal given that both Wycombe Wanderers and Portsmouth, the two teams directly ahead of us before kick-off, also picked up three points. You could see it as another weekend of frustration with those results going against us but had we not picked up a morale boosting victory of our own those curtains would start to close.

It was the best possible response to a week that featured an outpouring of emotion from Cobblers fans after a shocker of a performance at home to Bury last weekend. And it took just a few minutes to produce something clinical to hang on to for the rest of the afternoon as Chris Hackett raced onto a through ball, knocked it around goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and finished from a tight angle. There was just three minutes on the clock but if Chris Wilder asked for his players to come racing out of the blocks then he most certainly got his wish.

With limited chances at either end of the pitch, it was down to Darren Carter to give us the other significant talking point of the first half as he picked up his tenth booking of the season which now means a two match ban for a man who has become as influential as anyone in recent weeks. Carter has had a renaissance in the second half of the season and his absence from the Burton home game and what is now looking like a season definer at Wycombe is a massive blow.

There was one final chance in the opening forty five for the Cobblers as Emile Sinclair took the ball around Bettinelli but was denied by a defender tracking back for the hosts. That could have given us significant space to play with in the second half but as it was we were all on tenterhooks once again and just willing the clock to tick down.

It was becoming more and more apparent that those above us weren’t going to give an inch so we had to dig in and try to hang on to what we had. Leon McSweeney made a massive saving tackle on the hour mark as Stanley threatened before John Marquis hit the post with a late header. Then it came down to the final few minutes and the home side were throwing more and more at us as expected.

Tom Aldred forced Matt Duke into a good stop as Cobblers fans’ hearts were tested once again – thoughts turned to the crushing blow of Wimbledon’s leveller at Sixfields deep into stoppage time and we couldn’t afford for that to happen again. A couple of late flurries tested our nerves but this time we clung on to three gutsy and priceless points to breathe fresh and much needed life into our survival bid.

The away form this year is the unexpected fuel to that bid with Sixfields instead holding us back at the moment. Town have won four out of eight away from home since the turn of the year, drawing three and losing just once. Chris Wilder has continued his winning formula on the road having come through the first half of the season with Oxford unbeaten away from home and it’s becoming an unexpected safety net after more frustrating home results.

The main relief is that we’re still fighting and have arrested the ill feeling from last weekend when it looked like everything may be slipping away. The challenge now is to bring that away form and the connection being felt between player and fan back to Sixfields. The barriers of fans turning up and waiting to be entertained, grumbling when we go behind, is hard to break but it’s not impossible.

There is still time. There is still hope. And, most importantly, there’s belief once again. Over to the players to keep it going against Burton to set up what is set to be a monumental game at Adams Park on Good Friday.

Hang on in there!

Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Sierra Exif JPEG

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.

Prediction…

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.

Cobblers end Stanley run to move off the bottom

Dallas...fourth Cobblers goal

Dallas…fourth Cobblers goal

Northampton Town 1-0 Accrington Stanley

League Two

Saturday, November 30th 2013

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t spectacular…it was simply what was needed as the Cobblers brought to an end Accrington’s run of form that had seen them go eight games undefeated before heading to Sixfields. Izale McLeod could, and should, have made it a more comfortable afternoon for Town fans but his debut included a missed penalty and a scuffed shot that hit the bar.

It was, though, a big result and McLeod can look back on his day as a decent start to his run in a Cobblers shirt. Perhaps more important was the stand out performance of a certain Clive Platt who returned to the starting line up looking to re start the partnership with McLeod that was so successful at MK Dons all those years ago. The fact that more people were talking about Platt come full time says a lot about the man’s presence and determination to battle against three loan forwards for a permanent starting berth.

Platt was involved in the only goal of the game, sending in Danny Emerton before the winger laid it off to Stuart Dallas who converted for his fourth goal in Cobblers colours. Dallas is beginning to look just as good a signing as fellow Brentford man Luke Norris and it’s a decent return for a winger after a couple of months here.

Town’s dubious penalty – after McLeod went down under a challenge a bit too easily for some – didn’t bear fruit as the new man picked himself up to tamely pass the ball into the hands of Accrington keeper Marcus Bettinelli. Referee Mr Phillips made amends for the visitors by failing to give a spot kick in the second half on McLeod again in an incident that appeared cleaner cut than the original decision.

The Cobblers were as comfortable as they could be at 1-0 with McLeod going close again from a Platt lay off in a bid to kill off the game but the tide began to turn with around ten minutes to go. Stanley should have been level when Peter Murphy missed a sitter from only a few yards out and that was their big chance to extend their unbeaten run.

Town battled for a third clean sheet in four, though, and rose from the bottom of the table with a big three points. Seven points from these last four games is a good return with the form that had come before and we now go into the FA Cup Second Round tie at Grimsby Town looking more solid than we did ahead of the First Round clash at Bishop’s Stortford.

Ricky Ravenhill put in another dogged display in midfield and it’s no coincidence that since his arrival we’ve seen our form slowly improve. A deal to bring him in permanently would be the best Christmas present that Aidy Boothroyd could wish for at this point. The clean sheet again is a positive, especially with the Kelvin Langmead news this week, and Kevin Amankwaah’s presence again at right back is important to have back.

Today’s opponents have shown how much impact a run of form can have and we’re getting to a point where, though we’ll have the occasional slip up, we’re starting to pick up points again. These 1-0 home wins are what formed the backbone of last season’s playoff push and if we can get back to dragging the results out of the bag like we’ve done twice in the last few days then we’ll give ourselves a chance of moving back towards mid-table.

FA Cup progress and that potential ‘mouth-watering tie’ would be a nice little bonus to this upward momentum. Bring on the Fishy people!

Northampton Town v Accrington Stanley: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Accrington Stanley

League Two

Saturday, November 30th 2013

There needs to be no fancy introduction for this one…Accrington, eight games unbeaten and flying after a rejuvenation in recent weeks, come to Sixfields for what is our biggest game of the season by some way. It’s not just the fact that Stanley are still in touching distance from us but that they are looked at as beatable despite that recent form.

The Cobblers simply have to win this one and I don’t think it’s showing any disrespect to Accrington to say that. They are where they are because of a run of results that we can only be envious of but we have to be going all out to break them down and bring them back into the pack. Anything less than three points will bring great scrutiny from three sides of Sixfields and the good work of Tuesday night’s point at Chesterfield would be undone.

There’s a new front man to bolster the forward line (how many times have I said that this season?!) with Izale McLeod coming in this week and we’ve got to hope that he is ready to do the business from the off.

It’s must win – pressure in itself – but the collection of three points here would be ginormous, such are the thin lines we’re playing with. Nerves at the ready…

McLeod...set for Cobblers debut

McLeod…set for Cobblers debut

Team News…

Izale McLeod is set for his debut after signing on Thursday but Kane Ferdinand was recalled by Peterborough on the same day, leaving an opening in central midfield. Ben Tozer was bizarrely loaned to Colchester United so it could give Gary Deegan or Darren Carter a second chance in the middle of the park. Kelvin Langmead suffered yet another setback this week and could be out until March with Lewis Hornby and Alex Nicholls still on the long term injury list. Chris Hackett is suspended so Stuart Dallas or Danny Emerton may take his place on the right hand side.

Accrington manager James Beattie has Nicky Hunt back in contention after he served a one match suspension on Tuesday night whilst Laurence Wilson is also back. Rob Atkinson is nearing full fitness following a layoff with a hamstring injury but Andrew Dawber will be missing for up to a month after undergoing minor groin surgery. Lee Naylor is ready to return but faces competition from Michael Liddle who has done well in the last couple of games.

Previous Six Meetings…

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 last season.

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

The opening day of the 2011/12 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.

14/08/10: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)

In the first home game of the 2010/11 season, there was a similar outcome to that of the start of the next season with a 0-0 draw kicking off the League Two Sixfields campaign.

The man in the middle…

Taking this one is David Phillips¸ who was last the referee for a Cobblers game in the 1-0 home win over Plymouth Argyle back in February. He’s shown forty yellow cards and four reds so far this season in ten games.

Prediction…

I’ve got to go with a Cobblers win here, if only to keep my own sanity and belief. We could do with an early goal to settle the nerves and if we do that I think we’ll win. 2-1

Four more points in the bag

Langmead...another late goal

Langmead…another late goal

Northampton Town 2-0 Accrington Stanley

Morecambe 1-1 Northampton Town

This type of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday week is becoming a familiar feature of the second half of the season with plenty of games to be caught up with from winter postponements. And if the Cobblers are to be promoted in any way come the end of the season, this is exactly the type of double result that needs to be happening on a regular basis.

A home win followed by a point away from home may seem par for the course for a playoff chasing side but these points cannot in any way be underestimated as those chasing the playoffs close in and those at the top squeeze tightly into seven crucial league positions.

For me to be writing about an end of the season that could well end with at least a playoff spot is a pleasure in itself. With just eight games to go the excitement is starting to well and truly kick in. Suddenly we can see the finish line and if result continue like this then there’s no reason why we can’t be going into the final game of the season with genuine hope of an automatic promotion spot.

I’ve spoke before of the composure of home wins throughout what is now an eight game streak that stretched back to December and the renewed sense of belief and spirit away from home. At Exeter we had a real off day but that’s been pushed right to the back of the memory banks with two fine performances that could even have ended with a maximum points haul.

The home win against Accrington was set up in the first half, during which Chris Hackett welcomed himself back to action with a rocket of a free kick before former Cobblers loan keeper Paul Rachubka handed the second to Roy O’ Donovan on a plate, slamming the ball against him and losing the battle to reach it at the second attempt.

Stanley threatened more in the second half but it was comfortable enough for a Cobblers side who are getting the hang of doing just enough at Sixfields to keep up a sequence that could break some records should it carry on much longer. The current best home run ever for a Town side is 12 in a row between April and December 1927 and with four home games to go this season we could match that (or attempt to break it if we enter the playoffs!)

The latest home win set up a Tuesday trip to Morecambe nicely with the Shrimps coming into the game on the back of a 4-1 hammering at Barnet on Saturday. They were out to prove a point and after the Cobblers had hit the post three times in the first half it was almost inevitable that the irritatingly bitey Jack Redshaw put them in front with a fine finish following a lay off from Kevin Ellison.

It didn’t look like being our night until once again we had Captain Marvel to thank for hauling us back from the brink. In the 88th minute, Ishmel Demontagnac’s free kick smacked the post and the ball dropped low for Kelvin Langmead to nod into the empty net. It was nothing less than the Cobblers deserved and on another night we may well have been celebrating back to back victories.

But four points is another big step, particularly with teams around us keeping up the pressure with points of their own. Port Vale are dropping like flies and are now the team to catch in third thanks to Burton Albion’s own form that has taken them above the Valiants.

I think we can discount Gillingham who are keeping their heads when all around them drop out of the race with Martin Allen’s men five points clear at the top with a game in hand. Apart from that though it’s all up for grabs with Town three points from Burton and two from Port Vale. Perhaps what we should be looking at first, though, is those just outside the playoff places and with Southend suffering another defeat they’ve slipped away a bit, meaning that Fleetwood and Oxford are the main contenders going into this weekend.

There’s seven points between the Cobblers and eighth place at the moment and that’s what my main focus is at the moment. If we can seal a playoff place before the end of the season I would be delighted and anything more from then would be amazing.

Wycombe away on Saturday will give us another big test but you get the feeling that this Cobblers side is capable of keeping themselves rolling on. There will be setbacks like Exeter along the way I’m sure but as long as we bounce back like we have done in the last few days then promotion dreams will stay alive.

Northampton Town v Accrington Stanley: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Accrington Stanley

League Two

Saturday, March 9th 2013

The Cobblers laid down a huge marker for this season back in November when Bayo Akinfenwa scored a glorious hat-trick in a 4-2 win up at the Crown Ground to secure only a second away win of the season. As the sides prepare to meet again, Town will need to protect the fortress against a Stanley side fighting for their lives at the wrong end of League Two.

Results for them have picked up slightly of late but they are still just a point above the drop zone and with every point so precious to both sides coming into the Sixfields clash it should be another tight afternoon with the final furlong of the season approaching.

Town looking to extend Sixfields run…

The Cobblers have extended their winning home run to seven straight games recently with triumphs over Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers and will be happy to be back on familiar ground after last weekend’s 3-0 hammering at Exeter. Stanley are coming into the game off the back of five points from three games collected from home draws with Cheltenham and Torquay and a thumping 3-0 win at Rochdale ten days ago.

Beattie aiming to help Stanley to safety…

35-Year-Old former Southampton, Everton and Rangers striker James Beattie has scored five goals in fourteen appearances since joining Accrington in November in a player-coach role. Beattie notched two in the recent 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town and will be looking to add more to his tally at Sixfields.

 

Moult...has played for both sides

Moult…has played for both sides

Club Links…

Accrington keeper Paul Rachubka was briefly with the Cobblers back in 2004, making ten appearances whilst on loan from Charlton Athletic.

Defender Mark Hughes was a popular figure at Sixfields during his two year spell between 2007 and 2009. Hughes played over ninety times for Town and scored four times.

Cobblers on loan stopper Lee Nicholls played nine times for Accrington last season, making his debut against Swindon Town last February.

Striker Louis Moult, currently on loan at Nuneaton from the Cobblers, played four times for Stanley in 2011 whilst on loan from Stoke City.

 

Team News…

Chris Hackett could return for the Cobblers after being left out of last Saturday’s defeat at Exeter. Apart from Alex Nicholls’ long term injury there are no major concerns for Aidy Boothroyd.

Accrington have, according to reports, today signed Francis Jeffers on a short term deal meaning that we could be facing a former England strike force of Jeffers and Beattie tomorrow afternoon! Elsewhere goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin and striker Padraig Amond are missing while former Cobbler Mark Hughes could be out for the season.

 

Previous Six Meetings…

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 last season.

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

The opening day of the 2011/12 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.

14/08/10: Cobblers 0-0 Accrington (League Two)

In the first home game of the 2010/11 season, there was a similar outcome to that of the start of the next season with a 0-0 draw kicking off the League Two Sixfields campaign.

09/02/10: Cobblers 4-0 Accrington (League Two)

A comfortable afternoon at Sixfields saw Town run out 4-0 winners thanks to goals from Bayo Akinfenwa, Billy McKay (2) and Luke Guttridge.

The man in the middle…

Stuart Attwell takes charge on Saturday afternoon at Sixfields. Atwell was the official for the Cobblers’ recent 3-0 reverse at Chesterfield and was refereeing in the Premier League as recently as last season before being demoted in February of last year. He has shown 94 yellow cards and 2 reds so far this season.

 

Prediction…

With seven wins in a row at home under our belt this is, on paper, a chance to make it eight but I fear that eventually we’re going to be hit by a surprise result at Sixfields. I hope it’s not this one but Stanley are improving and will be battling hard so this could be the day the run of wins ends. 1-1.

Bayo hat-trick lights up the weekend

Bayo – hat-trick hero

Accrington Stanley 2-4 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, November 10th 2012

It was almost the ideal away day. So many subplots, positive talking points and a result to be delighted with at the end of a game that looked to be going the same way as some of the previous disappointments away from home this season. All that plus a hat-trick from a man who is steam rolling towards the Northampton Town record books and into a status that is becoming ever more legendary.

When Accrington turned around a lead given to us by Bayo Akinfenwa in the first half with a well taken strike from George Miller and Rommy Boco’s long ranger it all looked like yet another reverse on the road for a Cobblers side that were flagging badly on their travels up until yesterday with just one win away all season.

But the man who won it on that occasion, a 1-0 victory at Dagenham, was the man in the middle of it all once again as Town produced a superb fight back. First, though, another story for the headline writers to get their teeth into. Jake Robinson only returned from a loan spell at Luton this week and was put straight back into the squad in what was a wise move considering our injury situation at the moment.

Robinson was brought on mid-way through the second half and had an immediate impact, repaying the terrific support from the away terrace by firing in to equalise and jumping into the crowd in a moment of sheer joy for him and the fans that have stuck by him through a tough few months. A rejuvenated Robinson could be just what the doctor ordered at the moment and it’s fantastic timing for him to come back and hit form just as we lose Alex Nicholls to his broken leg.

Robinson would continue to threaten and you got a sense that if anyone was going on to win this game then it would be the Cobblers. The manner of the win made it so much more special, though. Bayo produced a majestic moment to put us into the lead with a diving header at the back post from an Emyr Huws cross and the stage was set.

The big man had never before scored a hat-trick, a surprising stat considering his prowess over the years, but popped up with fifteen minutes to play to volley in from close range. Bayo immediately grabbed the ball, celebrated in front of the travelling fans and wrapped up a memorable afternoon.

The win takes us into the top half but more importantly it breathes fresh life into a campaign that was becoming annoyingly inconsistent. If Bayo can continue to build his growing legacy and help out his supporting stars then all may not be lost after all!

This mini run will be tested by Bradford (again) on Tuesday night with the FA Cup First Round replay taking up another midweek slot in the schedule but with Town in high spirits we have a chance of coming away with something more to cheer. Jake Robinson’s brief appearance in the cup with Luton means he’ll have to sit out whilst Louis Moult serves the second game of a suspension (the first was served at Accrington) but with Bayo in this mood we will always be in with a shout.

Two home games follow in the league and this is where we’ll need to be really kicking on. At times this season has been waiting to kick into gear only for a couple of dodgy results to halt progress but now is the time for the battling troops to make even bigger names for themselves.

Led by our hat-trick hero, anything seems plausible!

First Four Season Previews up!

With under two weeks to go until the start of the Football League season, it’s time to roll out my League Two Season Previews! Appearing this week, four per day, will be a look at each club, the managers and players and how I think they will get on. For the first four, see the relevant links below!

AFC Wimbledon

Accrington Stanley

Aldershot Town

Barnet

Also, Ben Mayhew has compiled yet another superb article analysing each Football League club’s fixtures for the upcoming campaign and I very much encourage you to take a look…it’s a cracking piece of work once again! For that, click here.

See you on Tuesday for more!