The ‘A Load of Cobblers’ Alternative Review of the Season 2017/18: October

It’s October! Welcome to the cold, dark nights, the season well and truly settling in and the Hasselbaink era’s early promise beginning to drift into a realisation that we actually won’t be storming up the table and suddenly bothering the playoffs.

 

Still, there was always the Checkatrade Trophy to pin our hopes on…even Justin Edinburgh claimed a win in this tin pot of a competition, remember. So it was that thousands 151 Cobblers fans packed settled in to London Road for a Tuesday night derby to remember pretend that we could actually beat these buggers from up the road. The fact that we didn’t even score our goal and didn’t win the game but still came away with double points again highlights the ridiculous nature of this competition. A 1-1 draw for the record with Jack Baldwin feeling sorry for us and slotting in our equaliser with an own goal to send the game to penalties. Another ABBA style shootout win meant that we somehow had four points from the group with Billy Waters slotting in the winning kick.

A home league game with Bristol Rovers followed and after a couple of tricky away trips this was the ideal chance to get back on track in the league. As everyone in attendance that day found out, though, ideal chances and the Cobblers don’t go well together. The first half was a smoke screen to the outrageous second as former Cobbler Billy Bodin (of course) opened the scoring for the Gas but Tom Nichols saw a spot kick saved by Matt Ingram and that should have been the spark for a recovery after the break. Not quite. Rovers scored five more times in a collapse reminiscent of THAT Shrewsbury home game (2-7) and Jimmy was left as bewildered as the rest of us.

That disaster made the following weekends’ 1-0 defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon look like progress in comparison but the sinking feeling was already starting to set in for a Cobblers faithful hopeful that the corner had been turned in early September.

Getting away from Sixfields for a couple of weeks looked like a handy turn by the fixtures computer and so it turned out. First, in a dramatic game at Spotland, Rochdale’s Ian Henderson scored twice either side of a penalty miss and it looked like another down and out showing. But from nowhere, Ash Taylor and, even more incredibly, David Buchanan brought us level. In one of those Sliding Doors moments from the season, Town then won a penalty of their own and had the chance to take home an improbably three points but Joh-Joe missed it and the points were shared after an exhausting night’s work.

On to Gillingham and a couple of stunning goals gave the Cobblers a much needed win. Daniel Powell’s strike on the stroke of half time ended up winning the club’s goal of the season award but Matt Grimes’ winner, following Lee Martin’s goal for the hosts, wasn’t bad either.

After all that excitement on the road it was back to Sixfields to close off the month with a second win in succession with Sam Hoskins scoring the winner against Blackpool. So another rut overcome, another mini revival and we’re once again ready for Jimmy to kick on and take us away from danger. Right?

At the end of the month, Town were in 21st but level on points with AFC Wimbledon outside the bottom four. Considering the thrashing by Bristol Rovers and the defeat to the Wombles it wasn’t too bad an outlook. Plus, bottom club Plymouth Argyle were looking doomed already and were four points behind us heading into November.

Twitter Said:

EASISERV.com‏: #ntfc urgently need to start winning . . .  happily got #TheGas next-up, we usually beat them!

@alfie_ntfc: Daniel. Powell. Has. Just. Scored. A. Goal.

@James_ChronNTFC FT: Cobblers 1-0 Blackpool. Gritty, hard-fought and deserved victory. Sam Hoskins with the winning goal #ntfc

Moment of the Month:

The double power strike from Powell and Grimes to snatch the points at Gillingham.

Player of the Month: David Buchanan won the official award after his rare goal at Rochdale.

Song for the Month:

Coming up: Mixed bag in the cups, a big win at the Kassam but Town still stuttering.

The ‘A Load of Cobblers’ Alternative Review of the Season 2017/18

With the 2017/18 season likely to go down in folklore for all the wrong reasons, today begins my alternative look at the season past. Instead of a simple run down of the horrors that were playing football matches in claret and white shirts over the past nine months, I’ve tried to pick out some hidden gems of happiness and quirky gems to cling on to so that when we look back on it in a few years we don’t just remember Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s doggy whistle and mind boggling tactics.

So here goes…strap yourself in, this could get nasty…

 

Part 1: August

Another summer, another build up full hope. Pre-season under Justin Edinburgh had been the usual humdrum including hammering Sileby to get our juices flowing (when will we ever learn?!), winning 4-0 at Frome Town in a game where I named Billy Waters as the one to watch this season (when will I ever learn?!) and conspiring to lose the much sought after Maunsell Cup at Kettering (on penalties). Defeating Edinburgh’s old charges Newport County at Sixfields was hardly a send-off to the season worthy of kings but Chris Long’s winner was decent enough to put the Burnley loan man in the spotlight.

Down to the real business then, and a sunny trip to Shrewsbury to really get things going. You know, Shrewsbury, the team that had finished 18th in League One the season before and only just avoided the drop. A chance to get off the mark then? Well, not quite – Lennell ‘his name is a shop’ John-Lewis won it for the Shrews in stoppage time. Ah well, surely the hosts wouldn’t keep that up for much longer, right?

Incidentally, the Cobblers squad that day included seven players and one manager who would either leave or be loaned out by the end of the season.

On to the Carabao Cup – the League Cup taken over by the erm, well known, energy drink. Future Cobblers loanee Matt Ingram took the gloves for QPR that evening as the Championship side edged us out by the single goal, scored by Yeni Ngbakoto who would end the season back in his native France playing for Guingamp. The memory of scoring that winner against the Cobblers in front of 4,317 League Cup devotes, though, must surely rank up there amongst his season and career highlights.

Back to the old bread and butter (slang for ‘we messed up the cup already’) and a third straight 1-0 defeat was inflicted by Fleetwood Town, this time in the opening home game of the season. It would all be OK though, the Cod Army would DEFINITELY be among the league’s front runners come the end of the season so chalk this one up to a tough fixture.

A trip to Charlton was exactly what we didn’t need but the run of 1-0 defeats was ended at least…as Town seamlessly moved on to a 4-1 hammering instead. Of course, Ricky Holmes scored for the Addicks and despite Marc Richards scoring our first goal of the season, Jake Forster-Caskey ridiculously scored twice in injury time to finish the Cobblers off.

With Edinburgh under increased pressure, it was time for a home game with Peterborough United – even this early in the season, this had all the feel of a do or die game for the boss and a second 4-1 reverse was too much for anyone to take.

In an odd, “it’s Bank Holiday so we can’t sack him” move, Edinburgh somehow clung on to his job through the Checkatrade Trophy game with Cambridge United on the Tuesday night. In a fitting turn of events, Town chose the most ridiculous  competition of them all to record a ‘win’ for the first time in the season and even more appropriately we ‘won’ by winning an ABBA style penalty shoot out to take two points instead of one from the game. The winner, kind of, took it all. If anything summed up the desperate need to say that we’d done something good, this game was it.

Edinburgh managed to come out for a post-match interview and produce a Best Supporting Role nomination inspired acting piece to pretend that he’d still be around come the game against Doncaster Rovers in ten days’ time. He was gone by the Thursday and the Cobblers would once again be on the lookout for a new manager.

Twitter Said:

@Fredorrarci – Edinburgh sacked by Northampton? I didn’t even know they were at war.

‏@HenryCollier10 – Justin Edinburgh sacked by #NTFC he’s had an appalling 12 months. This time last year Aaron Villa were rumoured to be after him. #Gills

@HeavyDale – No surprise at Edinburgh getting sacked by Northampton. Signing of Yasir Kasim can’t have helped.

Moment of the Month

Pretending that we’d won something by not actually winning…

Player of the Month

Ash Taylor picked up the official award. Sign of things to come.

Song for the Month

Coming up in September

Jimmy the Saviour?! Plus, some of those ‘point’ things on the board.