Victoria Road winning streak goes on…


Dagenham and Redbridge 0-2 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, September 6th 2014

Dagenham and Redbridge must really hate the Cobblers coming to town. Over five visits, we’ve become that unwanted guest at their dinner party that just keeps turning up, eating all the food and leaving without uttering a word to anyone. It’s pretty rude of us.

After another win at Victoria Road, on this occasion a tame 2-0 in comparison to the jubilant scenes at the end of last season, the Cobblers are sitting pretty in the top seven of League Two and showing no signs at all of returning to the sort of trouble we were in back in April. This time out a brace was netted not by an up and coming youngster but by a wily experienced head with Marc Richards moving to four for the season with a double that takes him, quite ridiculously, to within one goal of matching last season’s leading scorers for the whole campaign Darren Carter and Luke Norris.

The damage, as in April’s win, was done mainly in the first half with Rico taking little time to add to last week’s winner against Exeter by finishing off a good move that involved Ivan Toney and Kaid Mohammed. It was a familiar sinking feeling for the home fans against the Cobblers and we were off and running once again.

Chris Hackett and Richards again tested the home goalkeeper Liam O’Brien before the second came when the Town striker rose highest after losing his marker from a Joel Byrom corner to nod home and to give Town complete control. He could have had a hat-trick, too, when his goal bound effort was stopped on the line by Brian Saah.

The second half was all about holding on to what we had but after Matt Duke was tested by a Luke Howell effort and the evergreen Jamie Cureton shot into the side netting things calmed down and the Cobblers shut up all avenues to their goal to clinch the points and yet another clean sheet at the home of the Daggers.

It’s an astounding sequence of results at Victoria Road – I can’t think of many places where we’ve had such a run in recent years and it’s hard to imagine it happening anywhere else for us for quite some time. Still, each game does have its own story and this one will be remembered for Marc Richards hopefully setting his stall out for the rest of this season and for a good clean sheet start for new boy Ryan Cresswell at the back.

Things are shaping up very nicely indeed as we head into a run of games that, on paper at least, could continue to throw us points to keep us within touching distance at least of the front runners. Dagenham and Redbridge will just be happy that their obligatory home defeat of the season is now out of the way before it does too much damage…

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…

One of our own puts Town within touching distance…


Dagenham and Redbridge 0-3 Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, April 26th 2014

We came, we saw, we conquered. In one of those games that we’re not likely to forget for years to come the Cobblers produced a first half that saw a claret vacuum pull in three incredible goals and a second that was based on holding on to a precious three points that took us out of the bottom two for the first time since September. It’s not quite on the level of Pat Gavin’s exploits at Shrewsbury 21 years ago but the significance and sheer disbelief about the way we won it gave a whole new generation of Cobblers fans a hero and a match to indelibly etch into their minds.

That hero was eighteen year old Ivan Toney who was thrown in to start in place of the plodding and simply not good enough Emile Sinclair. A gamble it most definitely was but a home grown talent in place of a man completely out of form made logical sense and Toney grabbed the opportunity with both hands by netting a brace including a stunning overhead kick that would later be named as ‘goal of the day’ on Sky Sports.

To write this performance entirely in the name of Toney, however, is a disservice to a Cobblers side who were magnificent in the first half and were everything we needed them to be in a relegation battle – first to every second ball, coherent in the middle of the park, stubborn at the back and creating chances for the new look strike force of Toney and Marquis.

The crucial difference from the last couple of weeks was that Town, and particularly Toney, found where the goal was and sent the travelling army of almost 1,300 Cobblers fans into hysteria. Toney didn’t take long to get going with his first ever senior goal as he got on the end of a superb cross from the left from Ian Morris to head home in front of that gathering of our delirious gathering – many of whom took over a Weatherspoon’s pub at Liverpool Street in the hours leading up to the game…

Just as we were getting our collective breaths back, it was 2-0 as the ball broke to Morris just outside the area and his volley flew beautifully into the corner of Jordan Seabright’s goal. After weeks of non-threatening behaviour in front of goal this was an incredible scene – we were quite simply blowing the home side away and wanted it so much more than a team who seemed in equal parts shell shocked and already on their holidays.

Former Cobblers loan striker Luke Norris was doing his best to bring about a recovery from his new side but his header, tipped over by Matt Duke, was the best they could create and it was the Cobblers who would go into the break with another goal to reignite the belief in the away end. And what a moment this was – a corner was swung in, Seabright punched the ball out and Toney took a touch before scoring with an overhead kick that took the roof off an already rocking half of the stadium.

As we lauded the “one of our own” that had created the bedlam on the terraces the teams ran off for half time and it was a telling indication of Chris Wilder’s outlook that as Toney started to soak it in by applauding back the Cobblers manager near enough shoved the youngster down the tunnel – the job was not done yet and there was still a professional job to do.

And done it was. There was no big fight back from the home side who were still trying to get their heads around that first half. Medy Elito forced Duke into a save before Chris Hackett’s free kick forced Seabright into a good stop but the second forty five minutes was all about holding firm and keeping the points safely in the bag.

Norris would end up leaving the game early and earned a standing ovation from the Cobblers support as he was stretchered off – his goals in the first half of this season briefly gave hope to Aidy Boothroyd’s reign and there was an appreciation for that as the striker departed. Fortunately it doesn’t seem like the ankle injury is as bad as first feared and I’m sure both sets of fans equally wish him the best.

As for the final stages of the game, the minutes ticked on and it was party time as it was clear that the Daggers weren’t mounting a comeback. The final whistle saw a rapturous reception for the Town players and with Wycombe losing out in the crunch battle with Bristol Rovers it means that we simply need to match the Chairboys’ result next weekend (they go to relegated Torquay) to stay in League Two.

That’s been the ultimate aim since Chris Wilder took over and after being seven points from safety at one point it’s testament to his work that we’re now three clear going into the final game. There’s obviously still a good chance of many more twists to come but thankfully we know exactly what we need to do against Wilder’s old team.

It’s tantalisingly poised for Saturday and we know that if Wycombe don’t win then it won’t matter what we do but Wilder is experienced enough to concentrate on his own team and his own job. Should we get the point to take us to safety then Wilder’s defection to Sixfields in January will be somewhat justified. Oxford are on a shocking run that’s ended any chance of them reaching the playoffs and the U’s fans who were saying a few months ago that they would be promoted and send us down on the same day will come knowing that only the second part of that plan can now be achieved.

If we (and I mean the players and the fans) show anything like the effort displayed at Victoria Road then there should be no question about our league survival. That doesn’t mean that Saturday won’t be an incredibly nervous, frantic and emotional day.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy this picture for a little longer …


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. 

Still entrenched in bottom two after shaky few days…

Northampton Town 2-2 Dagenham and Redbridge

Rochdale 3-2 Northampton Town

It never rains, it pours. As storms sweep across the country this evening, the Cobblers are on their way home from a long journey north licking the wounds of a morale deflating late reversal that saw Rochdale score twice to deny us first a draw and then anything at all. At the moment it’s hard to find the words to describe what is going on as week after week goes by and the small scraps of positivity are balanced out by some silly decisions, poor tactics and individual silly moments.

Last season Town had a big problem away from home in that as soon as we conceded one goal we would go on to let in another moments later and that trend is worryingly coming back into play this time around in confidence shattering regularity. First came Oxford ten days ago and then at the weekend we were in good fettle and a goal up against Dagenham thanks to new boy Luke Norris scrambling the ball in before the Daggers turned the game around with two goals within the blink of an eye of one another.

To our credit we came back and claimed a favourable draw in that one and headed to Rochdale this evening looking to keep up the more positive aspects of recent performances. Norris, who joined from Brentford for a month last week, made it two in two games when he fired in from long range after just twenty six seconds and there was something to cling on to.

Ian Henderson, never anywhere near a high scorer in his time with us, inevitably was the man to bring the game level but having overseen that panic we were back in front when another loanee scored his second goal for the club with Stuart Dallas shooting low into the corner of the net.

So 2-1 up at half-time away from home and an unfamiliar position this season, Wimbledon aside, for the Cobblers. Unfortunately by the end of the game we were looking at all too familiar territory despite coming so, so close to bagging all three points.

The game seemed to turn on Norris being replaced as the lone striker by young Ivan Toney and while it’s completely unfair to blame Toney himself it appeared to take the steam out of Norris’ hold up play with the striker doing well in the ‘defending from the front’ role. Rochdale started to press and press and we’ve been here so many times before that it almost felt like we were waiting for the equaliser, which duly came when Michael Rose curled in a free kick that beat Matt Duke all ends up. There were questions about the wall and whether Duke had it positioned correctly and it’s details like this that are crucial to the current predicament.

Having lost the lead there was only one thing that could have made the night worse and, of course, that arrived when George Donnelly beat Duke in stoppage time. That last five minutes undid a lot of good work for the previous eighty five and will do massive damage to an already fragile Cobblers confidence, players and fans alike.

It’s three times in three games that we’ve let in goals one directly after another and it needs to be addressed. It seems that at the moment the minute we think the defence is sorted we can’t score and the minute the goals return the defence starts shipping goals again! It’s something that happens only when you’re in the thick of a dog fight at the wrong end of the table.

Rochdale flew to the top of League Two thanks to this result and we look up with envy whilst looking over at shoulder at Accrington who, with their first win of the season, closed the gap to two points to make us nervy about hitting rock bottom once more.

It really isn’t making for good reading at the moment and thirteen games in is probably enough to say that we’re in a relegation battle this season. At best, it looks like we’ll be fighting for scraps in mid-table and the mistakes that still stem back to the summer transfer activity, in my opinion, are going to end up costing us a second shot at promotion under Boothroyd.

It won’t get any better by simply replacing the manager because it simply means someone else comes in, gets his own ideas and still the best we can realistically hope for is top half. Boothroyd has perhaps the biggest few months in his career coming up and we are the ship that he’s steering. Short term loans won’t get him out of trouble by themselves though and results have to be ground out by whatever means necessary as the tough winter starts to kick in.

Cheltenham Town come to Sixfields on Saturday to give us an untimely reminder of happier times when we were celebrating a trip to Wembley at their expense back in May. How times can change so quickly…

Happy New Year for Cobblers

Hackett...scorer in the 3-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge

Hackett…scorer in the 3-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge

Northampton Town 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge

League Two

Tuesday, January 1st 2013

A new year at Sixfields and rather than a new dawn it’s the continuation of the one that had started around about a year ago. Aidy Boothroyd’s rebuilding work has made results such as this now a lot more expected than they once were. After this afternoon’s win over Dagenham, our sixth in six meetings against John Still’s men, only two sides have scored more goals at home than Town and only Burton Albion have collected more points on home soil with Sixfields beginning to become the fortress that it so needs to be.

After two away postponements at the end of 2012 it was business as usual and the Cobblers leapt back up to tenth place having dropped a couple through other results over the festive period. Dagenham, on the other hand, must be sick of the sight of us. Logic would have it that they are due a result against us but once again they were disappointed despite a spirited battle.

Before the game it was announced that Danny East, Henoc Mukendi and Chris Smith were all returning to their parent clubs at the end of loan spells while Clarke Carlisle’s deal had technically ended too. Carlisle is set to return whilst of the other three I would say East would be the one, if any, most likely to re-sign. The recoveries of Dave Artell and John Johnson are imminent, though, and Luke Guttridge made an appearance from the bench in the second half so the squad is actually in good nick going into the transfer window.

Results are what will decide how ship shaped we are ultimately and this was another good step in the right direction with the Cobblers again scoring two quick fire goals to get themselves going. Clive Platt’s flick on was diverted past his own keeper by Abu Ogogo, creating the comedy videprinter line of “Ogogo og”. The Daggers fans can’t have found it too funny, though, especially when their side went two down thanks to Chris Hackett’s fantastic finish into the bottom corner.

The visitors could well have clawed their way back into the game just after the break but Matthew Saunders’ header crashed against the cross bar. That was perhaps the last of their chances to realistically take something from the game because minutes later it was 3-0 when Ben Harding’s cross was put in by Kelvin Langmead.

Scott Doe did momentarily give the Daggers hope with a long range effort that beat Lee Nicholls but it wasn’t enough and Town saw out the game well.

It means that the game against Fleetwood Town on Saturday becomes very intriguing. The Cod Army sit four points ahead of the Cobblers in sixth place and are one of the teams that we’re chasing so a victory would mean that the gap would significantly close. We’ve been on the cusp of the playoffs for a lot of the season with one or two victories between us and the top seven so we have to hope that Fortress Sixfields continues to be built as 2013 kicks right into gear.

Happy New Year everyone!

Bayo returns to sink the Daggers

Bayo – winner

Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Northampton Town

League Two

Tuesday, September 18th 2012

It was a tale of continuing patterns on Tuesday night as the Cobblers once again won on a Tuesday night under the stewardship of Aidy Boothroyd and Town also recorded a third straight 1-0 win at the home of the Daggers.

Since joining the club in December of last year, Boothroyd’s run of Tuesday night victories makes for fun reading: AFC Wimbledon, Macclesfield Town, Bristol Rovers, Dagenham, Burton Albion, Cardiff City, Rotherham United, MK Dons and now the Daggers once more have all been beaten by Town on Tuesdays with only Crawley Town managing to win a fixture that fell on that particular day of the week. That’s nine wins and one defeat from ten Tuesday night games with this latest addition most welcome following the weekend loss at Fleetwood Town.

As mentioned, it was the third 1-0 win in a row at Victoria Road and coupled with home wins over John Still’s men in recent seasons it’s now five out of five in all fixtures.

This one felt deserved and included all of the usual ingredients of a Tuesday night League Two fixture: a dip in weather, scrappy football, some terrific work on the terraces from a hearty bunch of travelling fans and a single, simple goal from a set piece.

It was to be my first away game of the season and, as seems usual for myself and The Honorary Cobbler Jamie, we  found ourselves legging it/pegging it from tube to tube to try and get to the geographically difficult Victoria Road. After nearly running into the home terrace we got there with about twenty second gone. Not bad considering a past venture has seen us miss the entire first half an hour at Yeovil.

The game was bitty with the Daggers having the best of the opening twenty five minutes or so but as the half grew on Town got more and more into the swing of things and, with Bayo Akinfenwa leading the line well after shaking off illness, created chances of our own. The big man really should have scored after bringing the ball down in the area and seemingly having the entire net to shoot at before poking it wide just before the break.

It felt like a set piece would be the thing to win it and after the Cobblers came out of the blocks well in the second half, those feelings were proved right. Akinfenwa rose to meet a Chris Hackett corner to nod in the only goal of the game as Town produced a good display to ensure there were no late jitters.

There was one moment of panic when Josh Scott forced Lee Nicholls into a fine save with about fifteen minutes to go – the keeper at full stretch to push the ball wide.

There was no real siege though as the Cobblers, refreshingly, played out the final few minutes at the right end of the pitch with a couple of well won corners and holding play. The substitutes Clive Platt and Henoc Mukendi both did a stellar job of keeping the play in the Daggers’ half and giving Cobblers fans a rare chance to witness a relatively painless period of stoppage time.

I also have to mention some top drawer skills from Bayo in the second half as, twice in a matter of minutes, the big man bamboozled the home defence with flicks and tricks to utter joy from the Cobblers’ contingent! Apart from his awesome return to the side, there were good performances from Luke Guttridge, Kelvin Langmead and Ishmel Demontagnac with the latter getting a rare chance to start and taking it with both hands.

This won’t go down at the end of the season as an amazing win or one that many will remember but what it does mean is three big points and a big stepping stone in our steady progress this term. It was the type of night similar to that of a 1-0 win over Boston United in 2006 that underpins a lot of the more flashy victories during a successful season and the kind that is essential to any team that has ever won promotion.

We’ve got a long way to go before we can even start thinking about anything other than mid-table security but this night was another great change of pace from the struggles of months gone by.

Club put back together again…now time to look up?!

There’s different types of proud moments in the history of Northampton Town Football Club that get those goose bumps going just thinking about them. Wembley, Sammo’s winner at London Road, Plainmoor, Field Mill, Anfield to name just a few. Most of those moments feature epic wins or crucial promotions but last night’s emotions, already described marvellously by Jamie here, felt on a par even to some of our most famous nights.

It shouldn’t have…you would think that a mid-March encounter against the bottom club would feature either real delight at best or despair at the least. But as the seconds ticked by at Victoria Road and I, along with many others desperately hoping through Twitter and texts, was getting a bit overcome with it all. I probably would have just felt big deflation had a late equaliser gone in but as it was the final whistle produced my biggest outpouring of energy so far this season.

There was something about the Cobblers holding on, knowing what the difference was between being five points clear and being trapped within two or three of the drop zone. There was something about the incredible Town support, clearly audible for most of the game through the radio, that made me damn proud of the club as a whole. It’s becoming more and more likely that we have indeed come through this patch and are looking up rather than down. I don’t want to say it’s all over because anything can happen but on the other hand we must salute this effort of guts and praise the players and management who have rescued our season from the abyss.

I’m warming to Aidy Boothroyd more and more by the week. His interviews are straight to the point, honest and determined and he knows exactly how to relate to the supporters that have never left the side of their beloved club. Boothroyd has instilled his own steel and determination to every one of his players and made believers out of the fans at the same time and has us actually thinking that we can go and carry it on at Accrington on Saturday afternoon.

Knowing the Cobblers like we do that’s not to say we’re already safe, not by a long shot. But what happened last night did so much more than earn us three points – it brought the club back to a place in which we can finally feel happy about ourselves again.

Onwards to Accy!

Silva turns gold for vital Daggers victory

Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Northampton

***The below match report was kindly provided by my buddy Jamie, the honorary Cobbler, who was in attendance last night. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesfarrier or visit his blog, The Backpass, should you so wish!***

A thrashing of your local rivals, a stupendous second-half comeback or an unexpected underdog victory over champions-elect are all results that stick fondly in the memory. Sometimes, however, it’s the spirit of forcing through a chilly Tuesday night one-nil over relegation candidates at Victoria Road in East London that can make you realise what matters most for a season campaign: the result. The Cobblers have made a big statement in the case for retaining their place in next season’s Football League.

That this was the rearrangement of the winter fixture turned the psychology of the game on its head; Northampton entered the game fully into their stride of Aidy Boothroyd’s revival, having traded places with a Dagenham and Redbridge side now occupying their opponent’s former position at the very bottom of League Two and looking doomed to dropping back to the Conference.

Northampton, unchanged again from victory against Aldershot, asserted their newfound confidence and joined-up team ethic in the opening 20 minutes, applying controlled attacks with a fine mixture of Bayo Akinfenwa’s aerial threat and sterling work by Michael Jacobs and Toni Brito da Silva on the left and right flanks respectively. Silva, in particular, imposed himself with a series of darting runs, tenacious dribbling and some sound efforts at goal.

The Daggers, however, were not a team to roll over and found their way into the game, eventually producing an excellent fingertip save from Matt Duke on the stroke of half time.

The second half saw Town produce the same drive, albeit with the nagging feeling that shots on target weren’t forthcoming. Eventually, though, the Cobblers found the breakthrough when Jacobs’ blocked shot saw the ball break loose for an unmarked Silva to slot cooly home from the right of the six yard box for his first goal with the club.

Silva’s skills were only impeded by a touch of selfishness as he failed to provide the correct deliveries for the waiting Bayo and Guttridge in the centre, often losing possession unnecessarily, and his substitution following the goal was the right decision. Bayo was also withdrawn for Webster to shore up the defence, leading to another tense finish that saw Daggers pile forward. It all came down to another hearts-in-mouths finish with another fine save by Duke at the very death, when Josh Parker really could have done better with a low header from point blank range.

The Cobblers held on and the visiting support clambered around the entrance to the tunnel to give the players and manager a triumphant exit. It was no less than the 669 traveling fans had given for the previous 90 minutes, producing a terrific voice to make the claret proud. I’ve been among my fair share of barmy army away visits, but tonight’s support was one of the best. It was a stark reminder of what fans can do for a side when they need the positivity and encouragement to see a game like this through to a winning conclusion.

These three precious points sees us up to 19th, with a game in hand over those around us, and with discernible daylight emerging between us and the relegation zone. It’s by no means certain safety, but this could be the sort of result that will be remembered if we manage to make an effort of properly consolidating our league status rather than narrowly surviving by the skin of our teeth.

Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town: Match Preview

The time has come for one of the biggest matches of the season with a month’s delay for the fixture only adding to the anticipation for a trip that won’t make or break the season but will have plenty of implications for the coming weeks and the relegation battle. Had we played the game at the scheduled time, we would have been looking up at the Daggers, and indeed the rest of League Two, but thanks to a resurgence of form the clubs have instead swapped places over the past month and it’s the hosts who prop up the rest and the Cobblers needing the win to put ground between us.

All’s set for a tense night with the conclusion sure to have major impact at the bottom of the Football League.


Dagenham have fallen to a couple of away defeats in the last week, falling 4-0 at league leaders Swindon before Saturday’s 2-1 reverse at AFC Wimbledon. Before that though, they were in decent form and had picked up seven points from a possible nine.

The Cobblers have collected thirteen points from the last eighteen available including back to back home wins this week. Aidy Boothroyd’s men have lost only one of their four away games in 2012, that being the 1-0 defeat at Torquay.

Team News…

The Daggers snapped up Bournemouth’s Mathieu Baudry on loan this week and the Frenchman could make his debut. John Still is meanwhile waiting on the fitness of defensive duo Scott Doe and Mark Arber with both doubts for the game. Matthew Saunders will definitely miss out as he waits on the results of an ankle scan while Sam Williams, Kevin Maher and Peter Gain are also out.

Aidy Boothroyd will be pondering the inclusion of Toni Silva after the enigmatic winger put in a solid performance on his recall to the side on Saturday afternoon. Michael Jacobs and Bayo Akinfenwa were the only concerns for that one but both came through ok and should start again. Anthony Charles might be included in the squad after completing his short term move to Sixfields on Tuesday.

Club Links…

Dagenham signed former Cobblers loanee Josh Parker on a loan deal last week. Parker, now signed up by Oldham Athletic, played three times for Town in 2010.

Injured Cobblers defender Nana has previously spent time on loan at Dagenham and scored twice in an eight game spell at Victoria Park in the 2009-10 season.

Previous Meetings…

24/09/11: Cobblers 2-1 Dagenham and Redbridge

Arron Davies returned from injury to smash the Cobblers in front in the reverse fixture at Sixfields from earlier this season before Bayo headed in for 2-0 the other side of half-time. Dagenham pulled one back through Oliver Lee but we held on for a first home win of the season.

06/02/10: Dagenham and Redbridge 0-1 Cobblers

John Johnson’s goal turned out to be the winner in February 2010 in the Cobblers’ first competitive game at Victoria Road.

26/12/09: Cobblers 1-0 Dagenham and Redbridge

The first ever meeting between the two sides took place at Sixfields on Boxing Day 2009 with the Cobblers coming out on top by a single goal, scored by Billy McKay with just two minutes to go.

The Man In The Middle…

The man in charge on Tuesday night will be Paul Tierney, who has been officiating Championship and League One games in the past couple of weeks. You might remember him for sending John Johnson off at Oxford last season or for showing red to two Stevenage players on the day that we secured our Football League status at the end of last season.


It’s a massive contest and one that I’d like to see us go all out and attack but I can see it being quite cagey and based on the last couple of results wouldn’t be completely disappointed with a point. I’ll go for 1-1.