Cobblers round off with draw thanks to Bayo’s header

Bayo – 18th goal of the season

Rotherham United 1-1 Northampton Town

It’s been tough watching the Football League show this morning. Not just because it’s the last time we get to see the mighty Cobblers play this season but because of the celebrations up and down the country as clubs celebrate promotions or clinching a last ditch place in the playoffs. All this as the Cobblers are playing out a tepid draw at a an athletics track equated to a season finale that could have been completely glossed over had it not been for a dramatic late equaliser from Bayo Akinfenwa.

The big man headed in with one of the last touches of the game and mirrored his stoppage time leveller against Bury in his last season closer for the Cobblers two years ago against Bury at Sixfields. On that occasion we were begging him to stay as his contract came to an end but we at least have the knowledge that the striker is under contract for another year. That doesn’t mean he won’t still have his suitors this summer but hopefully his biggest ever league tally will encourage him enough that Aidy Boothroyd can get even more from him next term.

For Rotherham, even a win wouldn’t have been enough to get them into the playoffs and the game seemed to drift after they took the lead through Alex Revell barring a disallowed Lewis Grabban ‘goal’.

Cue an earlier than usual gathering of home fans ready for the inevitable pitch invasion as the home fans prepared themselves to say their farewells to the Don Valley Stadium. Both sets of fans would have been united in saying it would be good riddance to an arena that really doesn’t suit the atmosphere of League Two.

The Cobblers signed off in style at least and we can go into our summer break relatively happy after another relegation fright in the second half of the season. After the mess of Gary Johnson came the calm and the assurance of the start of the Boothroyd era and the summer speculation, debate and rumours can now begin.

For me it’s good timing…a few weeks ago we didn’t want it to end but after a few dragging weeks to finish things off now is the time to regroup, get the right players in and the right players out and get ready for August. Perhaps by this time next season, maybe just maybe we could be celebrating something other than survival.

Let the summer begin!

(By the way, stay tuned into the blog in the coming weeks as I bring you some playoff previews, season in review and all the up to date transfer news from around Sixfields and League Two!)

Rotherham United v Northampton Town: Match Preview

Don Valley Stadium

So another long season comes to an end. We’re just one game away from completing the 2011/12 season that has brought us anger, strife, Gary Johnson, revival, nerves and finally relief and we go to Rotherham tomorrow to play our part in what will be (thankfully for home and away fans alike) their final game at the Don Valley Stadium.

The Millers plan to move to the shiny new 12,500 capacity New York Stadium in time for the start of next season and they will be hoping to round off their tenure in Sheffield in style even if it is too late to mount a playoff charge.

For the Cobblers it’s a final chance this season to put one over on Steve Evans who took charge of Rotherham a month ago but has failed to spark their fire enough to steer them into the top seven so not too much to play for apart from final league standings for both clubs. The highest that the Cobblers can now finish is 18th while Rotherham can end up in eighth if all goes their way.


Since Evans took over, Rotherham have won two home game, against Cheltenham and Morecambe but were beaten by Shrewsbury and held at Aldershot on their travels. Last weekend’s draw at the EBB Stadium left them with no chance of reaching the playoffs but they should be strong again next season.

The Cobblers are without a win in five having drawn the last two at Hereford and at home to Gillingham in last weekend’s final home game of the season.

Jacobs…last game for Town?

Team News…

Rotherham defender Ryan Cresswell will return after serving a one game suspension last weekend. But Tom Newey serves his one match ban after his sending off against Aldershot and Lewis Grabban faces a late fitness test.

There shouldn’t be too many changes for the Cobblers but there will be final games, for now at least, for loanees Clarke Carlisle, Brett Williams, Toni Silva and Blair Adams. Michael Jacobs will play his 100th, and potentially last, game for the club with the midfielder still undecided on his future.

Club Links…

Brett Williams has played for both clubs this season having turned out eleven times for Rotherham and scoring twice earlier in the campaign.

Last Six Meetings…

29/10/11: Cobblers 1-1 Rotherham

Gary Johnson’s final home game in charge of the Cobblers saw Gareth Evan’s second minute strike cancelled out by a Conrad Logan own goal mid-way through the first half.

22/04/11: Cobblers 2-2 Rotherham

The infamous celebrations that followed a Cobblers recovery from 2-0 down on Good Friday last season has been etched into memory more than the game itself. After Leon McKenzie and Liam Davis had cancelled out a Paul Rodgers own goal and a Ryan Taylor effort, Cobblers fan Derry Felton invaded the pitch in his wheelchair to create a moment of humour in last season’s relegation battle!

23/11/10: Rotherham 2-2 Cobblers

The Cobblers had already come back from two down against Rotherham earlier in the season as well. Having gone behind to Ryan Taylor and Marcus Marshall goals, Abdul Osman and Andy Holt replied within minutes and the half-time score of 2-2 remained until the end.

13/04/10: Rotherham 1-0 Cobblers

Red cards everywhere in this one as Adam Le Fondre’s goal settled a promotion battle at the Don Valley Stadium. Ryan Gilligan had already missed a penalty when Craig Hinton conceded a spot kick of our own that Le Fondre scored from and Hinton was shown his marching orders for the challenge. Luke Guttridge and Danny Harrison were also sent off later in the game meaning that we ended with nine men and Rotherham finished with ten.

29/09/09: Cobblers 3-1 Rotherham

Ryan Gilligan and Courtney Herbert had the Cobblers in control in this Tuesday night encounter before Ian Sharps’ own goal made it 3-0. Adam Le Fondre’s penalty was only a consolation on this occasion.

24/02/07: Cobblers 3-0 Rotherham

The Good Doctor opened the scoring before Mark Hughes and Ian Taylor made the game safe even before the half time whistle had gone.

The Man In The Middle…

The final referee to take charge of a Cobblers game this season is Carl Boyeson who was the referee for our 4-0 home defeat by Wolves in this season’s Carling Cup.


Anything can happen on the last day and sometimes you get funny results when both sides are playing for pride alone. So I’ll round off this season with a 3-3 thriller of a prediction!

Wilson grabs the headlines as home campaign ends in draw

Northampton Town 1-1 Gillingham

When it gets to the stage of the season when there’s nothing to play for and not a lot is at stake you start to look at stories that you can pick out of games, especially when you run a small blog chronicling those events. On this occasion it wouldn’t be an Andy Holt swan song stealing the show as an injury kept the departing future Cobblers legend to simple 50/50 results puller. It wouldn’t be a repeat of November’s 4-3 epic at the Priestfield. And it wouldn’t be a story of Gillingham putting their names right back in the hunt for the top seven.

Instead, nineteen year old Lewis Wilson was the talking point on most people’s lips in terms of the Cobblers’ performance as his goal helped to keep the Gills’ dreams of the playoffs locked away for another season. Wilson’s goal won’t end up in a show reel of his best ever goals when he’s sat with his grandkids showing them his old ways but it will still be one of the more memorable as he stabbed in to give the Cobblers the lead on his full debut for the club.

Of course we shouldn’t get too excited (do we ever?!) about another young prospect. The name Courtney Herbert comes immediately to mind when you think of past masters of getting the claret faithful excited that we have a future star and thus a future money maker in our midst. We can only hope that Wilson goes the way of Michael Jacobs and not of Herbert. Jacobs could well have made his final ever Sixfields appearance in a Town shirt in this one and we now await the results of his contract negotiations. My hunch is that he’s off, with a bid rejected early last week from Derby and the presence of Peterborough’s Barry Fry looming in the West Stand on Saturday.

With others set to be informed on their futures this week (Paul Turnbull and Aaron Davies, I’m looking at you) we should hopefully have an idea by the end of the Rotherham game – the last of the season – as to who’s in and who’s out.

A strange mess of a goal that was apparently given to Jo Kuffour meant that this group of players that were trying to impress had to settle for a point but given the shambles we were in the last time we met we’ll have that!

The final whistle was followed by the ‘traditional’ pitch invasion from the home support. That just makes me feel uncomfortable to be completely honest. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ‘peg it on the pitch’ as much as the next guy/girl but when you’re looking likely to finish nineteenth or twentieth in the league there should be more sense shown.

By that I mean that it’s been a fantastic job done by Aidy and the Gang since February. I get that, I love that and I appreciate that. But thanks to the mini invasion they didn’t get the standing ovation that they so truly deserved. After some monumental efforts over the last few months, those players deserved a send-off and those long suffering supporters deserved to have the chance to thank them – particularly the one not able to get to Rotherham next week.

Anyway, rant over – save the invasions for times of utter jubilation like a promotion…believe me, it’s worth it.

So we’re down to one more match and Rotherham should be as run of the mill as this one but hopefully we can end this crazy season on a bit of a high and finally stick one to Steve Evans!

End of an era as Gilligan and Crowe get set to leave…

Today saw the end of a certain age of Cobblers players as the longest serving player in the current ranks, Ryan Gilligan, was told that he and Jason Crowe will be released in the summer. The duo are the last remaining players (Crowe albeit after a return to the club) to have been involved in the last promotion season back in 2006.

Gilligan is the more curious case of the two having had a strange old time of things since signing from Watford in 2005. Starting out as a striker, he made a good start to his Cobblers career and played a big role in that promotion including an important winner in the 1-0 win at Wrexham and that dramatic equaliser at Grimsby Town that prevented the Mariners from joining us in League One.

Moving back into midfield from then on, Gilligan found some good form and his battling style earned praise and a new contract at the end of the following season. After a difficult relegation season, he returned to form in League Two and scored eleven times in the 2009/10 season. It was during the following campaign that things started to turn.

A rumoured falling out with management saw Gilligan fall out of favour and he was loaned out to Torquay United for a brief period. Gary Johnson didn’t see him in his plans either on his appointment and Gilligan’s return and another loan, this time at Newport County, followed at the start of this season.

So it was fairly inevitable that once Aidy Boothroyd didn’t include him in his squads at this end of the season that Gilligan’s ties with the club would finally be coming to an end. It’s a shame for a player that I’ve always thought had something to offer. It’s not for me to speculate over what did or didn’t go on behind the scenes so based on Gilligan as a player it’s a shame that he couldn’t rediscover the form of old and make a comeback in time for the run-in.

There has to be room freed up though and Crowe was another obvious one to be told that his services won’t be needed. His return to the club where he became a popular figure – enough for us to lord his reappearance earlier this year – became short and we’ll have to remember him by his previous incarnation at Sixfields.

Those glory years of 2006 seem like decades ago now but as the final two stalwarts of that side depart, it’s time to close the book on that chapter of our past and look to what is hopefully to be a fine follow up. Unless Pedj Bojic fancies coming back…

It’s not over yet!


Northampton Town 1-3 Bradford City

We’re not quite there just yet. This was meant to be the day when safety was ensured, when it went beyond mathematics and the day in which we could all rejoice in confirming league status for another season. Unfortunately Bradford City didn’t see things that way and were on the hunt for precious survival points as well. They clearly hadn’t read our carefully laid out script and forced the Cobblers out of the game to ensure themselves the luxury of survival instead.

The difference in the first half was the burying of chances – quite a simple difference but one that’s effective in winning football matches, I find. Bradford’s Nahki Wells converted twice to have his side in front by the break, either side of three Cobblers chances that were all cleared off the goal line and one Ben Tozer effort that struck the bar.

There was the briefest of responses from Aidy Boothroyd’s men with Clarke Carlisle heading in his first in Town colours but within seconds that two goal lead was restored as Wells completed an impressive hat-trick and virtually ended the match despite there being over half an hour still to play.

You got the feeling that it just wasn’t to be our day. There would be no late come back this time, no drama in stoppage time. Quite simply Bradford seemed more up for it and we have to be careful not to let complacency slip in for the final few weeks of the season.

With Macclesfield picking up a point against Crewe we are eight points clear of the drop with the bottom two having nine to play for. It’s a massively unlikely possibility that we’ll be scrapping away for survival on the final day but I wouldn’t fancy us too much at Crawley on Tuesday meaning that next weekend’s trip to Hereford could be the one where we either confirm safety once and for all or get sucked right back into the race.

Today will hopefully be just a wakeup call that some of the players needed. There’s areas of the pitch where massive improvement is needed and it’ll be a long, hard slog of a summer for Boothroyd to get a squad together. That, unfortunately, starts with players leaving and those on the brink of departure need to step up their games now or they will definitely be on their way, especially if the manager does indeed intend to crop the squad down to nineteen or twenty players.

Let’s hope for better at Crawley…I for one would love us to put a dent in their automatic promotion hopes by securing safety. Stranger things have happened…

Northampton Town v Bradford City: Match Preview

So we’re one win away from winning the battle for good. The battle against the drop has been long and arduous but it could all come to a head this weekend should we overcome Bradford City at Sixfields. It’s been a monumental effort to get ourselves in such a position where we could still have four games to play after earning safety and what a great feeling that would be.

Bradford are no mugs though and can be dangerous on their day, as proven by their 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture back in October. Both clubs have suffered through a tough relegation scrap since that day, though…


The Cobblers may have lost on Easter Monday at Swindon but had, before that, only been beaten once in nine games. Home form has also picked up with five wins, one draw and just one defeat from the last seven at Sixfields.

Bradford are still looking over their shoulders slightly going into this weekend after three defeats in the last four games saw them fall to 21st in League Two. They’re still seven points clear of the bottom two though, so should be safe but for a disastrous last few weeks of the season.

Team News…

Aidy Boothroyd has revealed that he may make one or two changes for this one with a possible return for Toni Silva who was missing last Monday due to a family bereavement. If Silva doesn’t make it, Lewis Young may be one to get a chance after coming off the bench at Swindon.

Bradford have two players back that were suspended after the after match brawl with Crawley with keeper Jon McLaughlin back in the frame and Luke Oliver also available but City boss Phil Parkinson has made no guarantees for either to start. That might mean a quick Sixfields return for Matt Duke who spent a decent few games on loan here before his recall.

Duke...Sixfields return?

Club Links…

Matt Duke was, of course, recalled by Bradford from the Cobblers a couple of weeks ago thanks to an almighty brawl against Crawley that saw first choice keeper Jon McLaughlin sent off along with two team mates. Duke played nine times for Town during his loan spell at Sixfields.

Bradford defender Guy Branston is another former Cobblers loanee having played three times for Town in 2007.

Last Six Meetings…

22/10/11: Bradford 2-1 Cobblers

Earlier this season, the Cobblers fell to a narrow defeat at Valley Parade with Michael Jacobs’ belter of a strike cancelled out by a Craig Fagan penalty before James Hanson completed the fight back with the winner soon after.

19/03/11: Bradford 1-1 Cobblers

Gary Johnson collected his first point in charge of the club at Bradford in this draw back in March 2011. Jake Speight had given the Bantams the lead with an early penalty but Shaun Harrad cancelled that out with a spot kick of his own on the hour mark. Jonathon Worthington was sent off in stoppage time for the hosts.

25/09/11: Cobblers 2-0 Bradford

Just a few days after the big win at Liverpool in last season’s Carling Cup, the Cobblers kept up the high spirits with a comfortable home victory. Billy McKay and Ben Tozer scored the goals at Sixfields.

01/05/10: Bradford 2-0 Cobblers

Bradford all but ended the Cobblers’ feint playoff hopes in our last away game of the 2009/10 season as a brace from Gareth Evans was enough to see us off. Dean Beckwith’s 37th minute red card didn’t help things!

03/10/09: Cobblers 2-2 Bradford

The Cobblers fell two goals behind in this entertaining contest in October 2009 thanks to goals from Simon Ramsden and Michael Boulding in quick succession. But substitute Alex Dyer pulled one back before John Johnson equalised in the final minute of the game.

17/03/07: Bradford 1-2 Cobblers

Billy Paynter gave the home side the lead in this relegation battle in League One but Bradley Johnson equalised just two minutes later. And with two minutes to go, Kenny Deuchar scored the winner to push the Cobblers ever closer to safety.

The Man In The Middle…

Oliver Langford takes control of this one having already been involved in a Cobblers match this season. Unfortunately it was one to forget – the 4-1 reverse at  Plymouth Argyle!


So one more win and we’ll be over the finish line barring some ridiculous miracle of maths. I’ve got a good feeling that we will seal it on Saturday so am going for a 2-1 home win!

Safety surely secure for battling Cobblers!

Northampton Town 2-1 Oxford United

Swindon Town 1-0 Northampton Town

Firstly, apologies that an Easter Preview didn’t make it to these pages…I had one completed but for some reason forgot that I needed to actually post the thing. Looking back on it I said that I would be delighted if we were to still be nine points clear come the end of the traditional Easter double match and that we are following an epic Good Friday which made yesterday’s Bank Holiday defeat at leaders Swindon one of the more bearable reverses in recent times.

Emotions were flying all over the place on Friday evening at Sixfields as a ‘bumper’ crowd finally got a performance and a match to go with the levels of support. What more could you possibly want from a game? Neal Kitson, having saved a penalty on his debut, did it again in astonishing fashion to deny Oxford a 2-1 lead at a critical point in a match that they were looking like winning. After that I  think we would have all settled for a point from an entertaining and feisty game but there was one more twist to come as late substitute Brett William magnificently chugged away to catch a lost cause, cut in a fired in the goal that could well have kept us safe in stoppage time.

Cue scenes of wild celebration, a mini pitch invasion thrown in as well, as the Cobblers picked up three huge points. The home support had every right to be going over the top. Some Oxford fans have had a snipe at us for treating it like a cup final win but in some senses it was. Having been so dire at Sixfields for most of the first half of the season, Aidy Boothroyd has completely turned things on its head. This was perhaps his finest hour in front of the home support. It meant that, even though not mathematically, we believed 100% for the first time in our own “we are staying up” chants.

It was probably too much to ask for another victory on Monday at a County Ground that hadn’t been breached in terms of away wins since August so a 1-0 loss there is nothing to complain about. I can all but guarantee that we would have lost on Friday and got absolutely annihilated on Monday under a certain former manager who is now once again enjoying his cider and Somerset pies.

The bottom two now look doomed and with Dagenham and Plymouth picking up victories yesterday I can only see Barnet as a possible gate crasher to a relegation battle that has been whittled down to Macclesfield and Hereford. Hereford travel to Underhill on Friday night in a desperate attempt to pull back ground.

The Cobblers can completely confirm safety as soon as Saturday if we pick up all three points at Bradford and both of the bottom two sides fail to win with Macclesfield hosting playoff chasing Crewe. It would take a capitulation of titanic proportions for things to go wrong now and surely it’s time we started looking at catching the likes of Wimbledon, Burton, Bristol Rovers and Port Vale. The top half is too far off but 15th or 16th would be a superb finish considering we were rock bottom in late February and three points adrift at one point.

I really didn’t expect to be in a position like this come the final four or five games and grew my finger nails in anticipation of them needing biting off but they don’t look like being needed this year which is a very pleasant surprise! Onwards toward the penultimate home game of the season then and it’s all about holding ground above Bradford in the all new battle for 18th spot.

A belated Happy Easter to all!

Kitson’s debut heroics earns big point for Cobblers

Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Northampton Town

A few days ago there was a mild feeling of panic around Cobblers HQ when Matt Duke was recalled to Bradford following their post-match brawl with Crawley that resulted in the sending off of their first choice keeper. Only Neal Kitson, a rookie with no previous experience in English football, and Freddy Hall, with only a handful of starts behind him, remained and the questions were being bandied about as to how much the situation would affect the run-in.

By 5pm yesterday we had our answer. Kitson was outstanding on his debut and had already made his mark on the game at Crewe even before a stoppage time penalty was awarded to the home side, threatening to rob us of a hard earned point from one of the toughest places to go in League Two. When Danny Shelley stepped up to win it for the Railwaymen we thought it was all over but Kitson stood firm and pulled off a tremendous save, pushing the ball onto the cross bar and salvaging that most crucial of points. Thanks to defeats for both Macclesfield and Hereford, the current bottom two in the league, anything we picked up at Gresty Road was a positive particularly given their playoff ambitions and having staved off a shaky start it was an excellent point.

Crewe had earlier stormed into the lead with the intent on continuing a fine run of form and had the Cobblers chasing shadows before eventually going in front through Luke Murphy. At that stage it was looking like a long afternoon for Aidy Boothroyd’s men but having kept the score to 1-0 at the break and having finished strongly there was always a chance of a fight back.

Michael Jacobs and Clarke Carlisle both went close before Bayo Akinfenwa marked his return to the starting line-up with a well taken equaliser on the hour mark, racing on to a through ball from Toni Silva.

Crewe were inevitably going to come back at us but holding firm were John Johnson, with a good late block on the impressive Nick Powell, and Kitson, saving well from loanee Billy Bodin. Having soaked up all that pressure it looked safe until that stoppage time penalty when the game appeared to be slipping away.

But thanks to a new hero between the sticks, the goalkeeping situation sorted itself out in one stunning moment in a debut that Neal Kitson will never forget.

With a tough Easter ahead there are no guarantees of safety just yet but it’s unquestionably getting ever nearer to being confirmed. Now all that’s left to do is get over that finish line!

League Two Relegation Battle: The Run Ins…

It’s that time of year when graphics appear across Sky Sports News, Match of The Day and newspapers analysing the run-ins for the key battles of promotion, playoffs and relegation issues so I thought I would throw in a look at the League Two basement battle for good measure. The Cobblers are by no means out of it…I will be including teams from ourselves in 18th down to the bottom of the table. I would have included Burton but their mid-week victory has them ten points clear now and that should be enough.

Here goes then!

Northampton Town

The Cobblers have a game in hand on most teams below but face five away games in the last eight, starting at playoff chasing Crewe on Saturday. An Oxford-Swindon double over Easter looks daunting the say the least so the home clash with Bradford and trip to Hereford could well decide a part of our fate…

Fixtures: Crewe (a), Oxford (H), Swindon (a), Bradford (H), Crawley (a), Hereford (a), Gillingham (H), Rotherham (a)

Bradford City

One place and one point below Town are Bradford City and they go into a huge six pointer at Plymouth this weekend before facing one of the tougher run-ins of all the teams in trouble. Games against promotion chasing Southend, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Swindon as well as that trip to Sixfields make it a nervy ending for the Bantams…

Fixtures: Plymouth (a), Southend (H), Shrewsbury (a), Northampton (a), Macclesfield (H), Cheltenham (a), Swindon (H)


Home form will be crucial for Barnet as they look to keep their heads above water. The Bees are currently three points clear of the bottom two but have a tough Easter week that takes in a Tuesday night visit from Swindon, a Good Friday trip to Cheltenham and a Holiday Monday clash with Crawley. They also face a massive home game with Hereford on Friday 13th April…

Fixtures: Torquay (H), Swindon (H), Cheltenham (a), Crawley (H), Hereford (H), Southend (a), AFC Wimbledon (H), Burton Albion (a)

Dagenham and Redbridge

John Still’s men have clawed their way out of the bottom two in recent weeks and their destiny is in their own hands and they look to avoid a second successive relegation. The Daggers’ run in doesn’t look as bad as it could be and they will be quietly confident of survival…

Fixtures: Port Vale (a), Burton Albion (H), Gillingham (a), Aldershot (a), Crawley (H), Shrewsbury (a), Bristol Rovers (H)

Plymouth Argyle

The Plymouth board have decided that they will review manager Carl Fletcher’s position at the end of the season and survival would be a massive tick on his name should he help the Pilgrims to overcome the tense finale. They have a big couple of weeks coming up with the home game with Bradford coming up on Saturday before a trip to Hereford on Good Friday and a Home Park visit of Aldershot on Holiday Monday…

Fixtures: Bradford (H), Hereford (a), Aldershot (H), Swindon (a), Oxford (H), Morecambe (a), Cheltenham (H)

Macclesfield Town

Macclesfield are fifteen games without a win and have sunk into the bottom two so they face a mammoth task to pick up the pieces and get out of the downward spiral they find themselves in. The Silkmen have four games out of seven away from home and it’s a pretty tough looking run of fixtures for an out of form side…

Fixtures: Gillingham (a), Shrewsbury (H), Port Vale (a), Crewe (H), Bradford (a), Burton (H), Southend (a)

Hereford United

Rock bottom of the table are Hereford and their fate could be held in the three games against fellow strugglers in Plymouth, Barnet and the Cobblers because the final two games of the season see them come up against two of the current top three in Crawley and Torquay…

Fixtures: Rotherham (a), Plymouth (H), Accrington (a), Barnet (a), Northampton (H), Crawley (a), Torquay (H)

In conclusion…

So who goes down? I’m absolutely shocking at predictions, as highlighted by my predicted league table that I came up with at the start of the campaign so should probably keep quiet but I’ll stick my neck out and say that Hereford and Macclesfield will be the ones to eventually fall through the trap door. It’s likely to change a lot in the next few weeks but momentum is key at this stage and with some tough fixtures coming up for both I’m going for the current inhabitants of the bottom two to still be there come May 5th.

Keeper hoodoo continues!

Yet another chapter of the Cobblers’ goalkeeping hoodoo has now been written after Matt Duke’s parent club, Bradford City, had their number one keeper John McLaughlin sent off, along with two others plus two Crawley players, at the end of last night’s game. The FA have launched an investigation into the brawl that happened after Crawley had won 2-1 at Valley Parade after punches were thrown from both sets of players.

But, back to being selfish and looking at the implications to my own team, it leaves us with a dilemma once again having already lost December signing Shane Higgs to a long term injury just three games into his Cobblers career and Chris Weale to a knee injury suffered during the 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last month.

Duke was brought in as the third goalkeeping signing that Aidy Boothroyd had made in as many months but this time it’s Bradford who have held the key to us losing another stopper. Should Boothroyd go down the loan route again to replace Duke then whoever was brought in would be the FIFTH keeper to play under his reign with Freddy Hall also featuring around Christmas and the New Year!

It’s a real blow to the Cobblers with Duke having helped the club to put a distance of five points between us and the bottom two thanks to three clean sheets in the last four games so whatever happens now he will be one of the people to send a huge thank you to at the end of the season should we finish the job of surviving.