Northampton Town v Chesterfield: Match Preview

sixfieldsNorthampton Town v Chesterfield

League Two

Saturday, January 25th 2014

This week has probably been the longest of all of the long weeks since the sacking of Aidy Boothroyd with practically every day containing something new to bring us down to new depths of despair. We’ve gone from being certain that Colin Calderwood was coming in to being back to the drawing board and then starting to approach existing League Two managers – there’s nothing more to say other than it’s been a complete mess and it’s somewhat of a relief that we actually have a football match to play on Saturday afternoon.

When you’re rock bottom, in the state that we’re in and with absolutely no confidence likely to be coming from the Sixfields terraces you start to wonder if you’re not about to get a good hiding to knock us further into the brown stuff. Chesterfield are certainly not the best opponents for this type of situation.

The Spireites have been in the running for automatic promotion all season and were on the brink of regaining a place in the top three on Tuesday night when they went into stoppage time against fellow promotion hopefuls Rochdale 2-0 up. But a stunning comeback saw Marc Richards sent off for a handball before Ian Henderson slotted in what should have just been a consolation. A dramatic equaliser from Peter Vincenti, though, sent the visitors home with a point and Chesterfield remained just outside the automatic promotion places.

That means that Paul Cook’s men will be going all out to make amends at Sixfields and will be sensing blood as they enter Sixfields. The only way that we can possibly get back to seeing our football club in a positive light again is with three points…we need now more than ever to have smiles on our faces as all around us proceeds to fall apart.

O' Donovan...back in contention

O’ Donovan…back in contention

Team News…

The Cobblers hope to have Joe Widdowson back from a shoulder injury to face Chesterfield while fellow defender Mathias Doumbe is also close to a return. Paul Reid is struggling with a hamstring problem that would have kept him out of last weeks’ game at Torquay had it gone ahead and Chris Hackett is still missing. Elsewhere, Roy O’Donovan is available again and could be pushing for a start with a week extra training under his belt and Ian Morris is another who could be back. Right back Kevin Amankwaah was released from his contract earlier this week.

Chesterfield will be without former Cobblers striker Marc Richards who was sent off in that 2-2 draw with Rochdale on Tuesday night. Also out of this one are Drew Talbot and Nathan Smith who have both picked up niggles recently.

Previous Six Meetings…

26/11/13: Chesterfield 0-0 Cobblers (League Two)

A rare good result on the road earlier this season as the Cobblers hold on for a decent point at the high flying Spireites.

12/01/13: Chesterfield 3-0 Cobblers (League Two)

A poor showing at Saltergate last season saw goals from Jay O’Shea and two from former Cobbler Marc Richards earn a comfortable win for the home side.

22/09/12: Cobblers 0-0 Chesterfield (League Two)

Tame goalless draw earlier that season as neither side could break through at Sixfields. Jack Lester rattled the cross bar with the visitor’s best effort while Kelvin Langmead’s close range header the best chance for the Cobblers.

08/03/11: Chesterfield 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

En route to winning promotion from League Two in 2011, Chesterfield saw off the Cobblers in a tight game at the B2Net Stadium thanks to goals from Craig Davies and Jack Lester. Andy Holt grabbed the late consolation for Town.

28/09/10: Cobblers 1-2 Chesterfield (League Two)

Chesterfield also won by the same score line at Sixfields just over two years ago. After Kevin Thornton had given the Cobblers the lead on the stroke of half-time, the Spireites turned the game on its head in the second half as Dean Morgan and Craig Davies won the game for their side.

23/01/10: Cobblers 0-0 Chesterfield (League Two)

Stalemate at Sixfields in January 2010 as both sides failed to break down the other on a frustrating afternoon for both.

The man in the middle…

Graham Horwood is the referee on Saturday having already taken charge of a Cobblers game this season in our 2-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Horwood sent off Ishmel Demontagnac during that game and that’s the only red card he’s shown this season.

Prediction…

Chesterfield come to town looking to climb back into the top three after being denied in that incredible finish on Tuesday night. We escaped from the Proact Stadium with a draw earlier this season but in our current state we’ll do very well to even get another draw. 0-2

Season definers ahead as Cobblers stall away from home

Hartlepool United 2-0 Northampton Town

Chesterfield 0-0 Northampton Town

Two games and two varying degrees of result. One, a dismal defeat that was the same as most trips away from Sixfields this season and the other a shutting up shop job with a decent point at the end. Had I provided those outcomes before the games at Hartlepool and Chesterfield there wouldn’t be many Town fans matching the correct results with the right opposition but a single point is better than nothing.

We continue to look up at the rest of League Two but despite just one point garnered from these games we’re still only two points from safety. That’s right, it’s being called “safety” from here on in – eighteen games into a season is a good time to start calling positions by their end of season names I feel.

The Cobblers are really in the bad stuff despite the recent uplifting result against Fleetwood and we must build up a run of form at home at least to get us out of this. We need to simply look a few places above at Saturday’s opponents Accrington Stanley to see what a good run of results does for confidence and league placing. They’re now eight league games unbeaten coming into Saturday’s game and have gone from dead and buried to mid-table botherers in a matter of weeks.

The importance of Saturday cannot be understated. This is our biggest game of the season so far and so many things could turn on the outcome. The good will coming out of the Fleetwood game has only been slightly tarnished by this week’s results but defeat against Stanley would undo everything about that last gasp victory.

Another home win, however, would go a long way in keeping hold of the belief earned against the Cod Army. Two of the three sides above us face teams in the playoff positions so it’s a massive chance to close the gap and maybe even lift us off the bottom – something that, in itself, would mean a lot.

After the Stanley meeting and the dangerous cup trip to Grimsby comes another big one, a trip to Bury, and it’s fair to say that our season may just be about to be shaped one way or the other.

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Cobblers snippets

Excellent news on the stadium redevelopment this week with councillors approving plans to redevelop and expand Sixfields Stadium. The potential for the club is enormous coming from this but with building work starting in the New Year we have to get things right on the pitch and not see it as a distraction. It’s all well and good progressing with a shiny new stand but if we’re dragged into the abyss of non-league it wouldn’t be a nice starting place to sell those new boxes!

A worrying tweet from Northampton Chronicle and Echo man Jefferson Lake (@JeffersonLake) this evening: “some fairly enormous #NTFC injury news coming in tomorrow’s paper Chron…I’m not going to say any more but needless to say it’s not good news.” With Alex Nicholls, Kelvin Langmead and Lewis Hornby all suffering from long term injuries the safe money is that the bad news is associated with one of them. Ominous words from Mr Lake and we standby for more in the morning.

Darren Carter and Ishmel Demontagnac have both been missing from the benches in the last couple of games, fuelling rumours that they may be two of the players mentioned by Aidy Boothroyd who “may never play for the club again.” Of course, many could argue that Carter has not only been missing from the bench but also missing on the pitch throughout the first few months of his Cobblers career. As for Demontagnac, he could well have just been sent off before even reaching the bench.

Chesterfield v Northampton Town: Match Preview

b2netstadiumChesterfield v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, January 12th 2013

After three home games either side of postponements of scheduled away fixtures it’s back on the road for a Cobblers side that were perhaps inadvertently glad of a two game break over the festive period that would have seen us travel to AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham in quick succession. As it is, this becomes the big tester of Aidy Boothroyd’s men who won all three home games over the last couple of weeks.

Chesterfield come into the game finely poised three points behind the Cobblers so it’s an important one for both sides as 2013 gets rolling.

Double departure at start of window…

The Spireites have parted ways with two strikers this week as the transfer window activity kicks off with former Arsenal man Luis Boa Morte’s short term contract not being renewed and Craig Westcarr reaching a mutual agreement with the club to cut short his current deal. Coming in the other way since the New Year began was defender Liam Cooper who sealed a permanent move to the club from Hull City having been on loan since November. The club also confirmed today the arrival of midfielder Jay O’Shea on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell from MK Dons.

Tough start to 2013…

Chesterfield have endured a sticky start to 2013 with back to back away defeats pulling them away from the playoff places for the time being. After going down 1-0 at Accrington Stanley on New Year’s Day, they were beaten 2-1 by Wycombe Wanderers last weekend. Before that, though, they had gone six games unbeaten at home in all competitions and had started to build up a real head of steam at the B2Net Stadium, meaning that this will be a big task for the Cobblers to come through.

 

Demontagnac...played for both

Demontagnac…played for both

Club Links…

Cobblers winger Ishmel Demontagnac spent some time on loan with Chesterfield in 2010, playing ten times and scoring three goals in his short time there.

Chesterfield midfielder Sam Togwell is another to have played for both sides. He played nine games for the Cobblers in 2005 during a loan spell from Crystal Palace.

Spireites striker Marc Richards was with the Cobblers for two seasons between 2003 and 2005, scoring ten times in over fifty appearances for Town.

 

Team News…

Chesterfield will be without Drew Talbot for the Cobblers clash with the striker broke his toe during last weekend’s defeat at Wycombe. Manager Paul Cook has also revealed that Terrell Forbes won’t play in the game tomorrow.

The Cobblers have no new injury concerns ahead of the trip with David Artell returning to training this week. The defender won’t be risked just yet but is on the road to recovery. John Johnson and Nana are the only other long term absentees but apart from that we have a clean bill of health going into the game.

 

Previous Six Meetings…

22/09/12: Cobblers 0-0 Chesterfield (League Two)

Tame goalless draw earlier this season as neither side could break through at Sixfields. Jack Lester rattled the cross bar with the visitor’s best effort while Kelvin Langmead’s close range header the best chance for the Cobblers.

08/03/11: Chesterfield 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

En route to winning promotion from League Two in 2011, Chesterfield saw off the Cobblers in a tight game at the B2Net Stadium thanks to goals from Craig Davies and Jack Lester. Andy Holt grabbed the late consolation for Town.

28/09/10: Cobblers 1-2 Chesterfield (League Two)

Chesterfield also won by the same score line at Sixfields just over two years ago. After Kevin Thornton had given the Cobblers the lead on the stroke of half-time, the Spireites turned the game on its head in the second half as Dean Morgan and Craig Davies won the game for their side.

23/01/10: Cobblers 0-0 Chesterfield (League Two)

Stalemate at Sixfields in January 2010 as both sides failed to break down the other on a frustrating afternoon for both.

15/08/09: Chesterfield 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Donal McDermott’s goal was enough to earn his side all three points in the Cobblers’ opening away fixture of the 2009/10 season.

21/04/07: Cobblers 1-0 Chesterfield (League One)

Cobblers loanee Simon Cox scored the only goal of the game late in the 2006/07 season, Town’s first campaign back in League One for three years.

 

The man in the middle…

Stuart Attwell takes charge tomorrow afternoon having last refereed a Town game in the 1-0 defeat at Swindon Town towards the end of last season. During this campaign, he has shown 76 yellow cards and two reds in 26 games.

 

Prediction…

This is another big one for the Cobblers with Chesterfield likely to give us a stern examination as they look for their first win of 2013. They should be fired up so I’d be OK with a point that I think we can get. 2-2.

Another small step along the road…

Northampton Town 0-0 Chesterfield

League Two

Saturday, September 22nd 2012

The Cobblers continue to trouble the top half of the League Two table despite a tame draw over the weekend that saw visitors Chesterfield do enough to both earn a share of the spoils and to provide us with a feeling of a decent point gained rather than two dropped, something that previous goalless outings have produced.

Given the 1-0 victory over Dagenham on Tuesday this one was an acceptable point against an in form Spireites outfit for whom Jack Lester was a constant threat with a couple of good chances and a shot that hit the bar in his side’s best effort of a quiet afternoon. The striker, who turns thirty seven in a couple of weeks’ time, has been back to his best so far this season and Town will be happy to keep the latest in a good run of defensive displays.

With Clive Platt out injured it was left to Bayo and Alex Nicholls to try and provide the goals again but both were dealt with well by the visitors’ defence who would also be happy with the result given that they had conceded three a few days prior to this against Accrington Stanley.

The end result was one of satisfaction for both clubs then as we strive to keep in with the chasing pack in this crucial part of the season. We’re in a clutch of games now that could go a long way to determining where the rest of the season will go. There’s still been too few games to really have a panic about the odd poor result but a little burst of tidy performances and score lines means that the Cobblers are on the outskirts of the top seven as things stand.

We’ll all, I’m sure, be delighted if that remains the case for the rest of the season and if we can back up the defensive aspects with a bit more of a spark going forward then we can have no fear of being dragged back towards what has been our home for the past couple of seasons, the relegation dog fight.

An tough away fixture at Burton Albion is next up with the Brewers having taken ten points from their last four games to pull themselves up into that last playoff place going into the weekend. They have a midweek encounter in the League Cup at Bradford before hosting the Cobblers on Saturday.

For Town, it’s another step along the long path to putting to bed the ghosts of seasons past. Just seeing us above that line that divides the top and bottom halves of League Two is enough at the moment and as long as the results keep coming in, the points continue to mount up and the weekend fixtures carry on being something to really look forward to rather than something to dread then I’ll be pretty content!

Northampton Town v Chesterfield: Match Preview

Northampton Town v Chesterfield

League Two

Saturday, September 22nd 2012

The Tuesday night win at Dagenham and Redbridge has lifted the Cobblers once again and we go into this weekend in the relatively comfortable position of eighth place in League Two. Without a league defeat at home so far this season, we’re starting to build up what could even be said to be a positive start to the campaign and another good result tomorrow would go a long way to creating the base of the always hopeful ‘fortress’ at Sixfields for the coming months.

Sheridan exit leaves managerial vacancy…

John Sheridan was relieved of his managerial duties after three years in charge of Chesterfield a few weeks ago after he failed to register a win in the opening four matches of the campaign. Mark Crossley and Tommy Wright have taken temporary charge and improved the side’s fortunes well over the last couple of weeks.

Unbeaten run forming for visitors…

Although the Spireites are staring up at the rest of the top half of the table from twelfth place, they are on a run of seven games without defeat in all competitions since losing 1-0 at Wimbledon on the opening day of the league season. Four draws followed but, along with a 2-1 win over Oldham in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, they have been victorious in their last two as a 3-1 home win over Wycombe was followed by Tuesday night’s thrilling 4-3 success against Accrington Stanley.

Lester…in the goals

Lester rolling back the years…

Veteran striker Jack Lester struck twice on Tuesday night to build on his already glowing reputation as Chesterfield’s goal machine. The thirty six year old scored only four times last season as the Spireites were relegated but has found his feet again in League Two where he netted seventeen times to help the club to promotion in 2010.

Team News…

The Cobblers will definitely be missing Ben Harding who limped off during the win over Dagenham on Tuesday night with an ankle injury whilst Paul Turnbull has been loaned out to previous club Stockport County on a 93 day emergency loan.

Former Cobblers front man Marc Richards is also missing with an ankle problem but Danny Whittaker’s groin injury has improved and he should be available to play.

Club Links…

Marc Richards made over fifty appearances for the Cobblers between 2003 and 2005 but, as mentioned, won’t be available for this game.

Midfielder Sam Togwell spent time on loan at Sixfields 2005, making nine appearances whilst with Crystal Palace.

Ishmel Demontagnac was with Chesterfield in 2010, making ten appearances during a loan spell from Blackpool and the winger scored three times during that time.

 

Last Six Meetings…

08/03/11: Chesterfield 2-1 Cobblers (League Two)

En route to winning promotion from League Two in 2011, Chesterfield saw off the Cobblers in a tight game at the B2Net Stadium thanks to goals from Craig Davies and Jack Lester. Andy Holt grabbed the late consolation for Town.

28/09/10: Cobblers 1-2 Chesterfield (League Two)

Chesterfield also won by the same score line at Sixfields two years ago. After Kevin Thornton had given the Cobblers the lead on the stroke of half-time, the Spireites turned the game on its head in the second half as Dean Morgan and Craig Davies won the game for their side.

23/01/10@: Cobblers 0-0 Chesterfield (League Two)

Stalemate at Sixfields in January 2010 as both sides failed to break down the other on a frustrating afternoon for both.

15/08/09: Chesterfield 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)

Donal McDermott’s goal was enough to earn his side all three points in the Cobblers’ opening away fixture of the 2009/10 season.

21/04/07: Cobblers 1-0 Chesterfield (League One)

Cobblers loanee Simon Cox scored the only goal of the game late in the 2006/07 season, Town’s first campaign back in League One for three years.

06/12/06: Chesterfield 0-0 Cobblers (League One)

Earlier that season, the sides had played out an uneventful goalless draw at Saltergate.

 

The Man in the Middle…

Jeremy Simpson is the man to take charge this weekend and it’s his first outing as referee of a Cobblers match having spent the last few years at Conference level. He was the official for last season’s Conference playoff final between Luton Town and York City at Wembley and was promoted to league status in the summer.

 

Prediction…

This is likely to be a tough, tough Sixfields test for the Cobblers against a Chesterfield side rejuvenated under the stewardship of Tommy Smith and Mark Crossley. I would love to say a win but the head is going for a well contested draw. 2-2