Disarray at the Sixfields Crossroads
Firstly, we’d like to apologise to the author of this piece, Danny Brothers, for furthering his torment on Saturday. Not only did he have to sit through a ponging performance from Northampton, he had to write about it afterwards following an opportunistic request prior to the game from yours truly. Fair play for following up with this, Danny. We owe you one…
I was asked, on Saturday, by my friends at The Two Unfortunates, if I could write a report on the current state of Northampton Town and the differences between the Gary Johnson era and the start of a new phase as the Cobblers hosted Shrewsbury Town. Surely there would be plenty to discuss – with potential new managers watching on from the sidelines the players were expected to come out fighting and really hit the ground. They’d want to show what they were capable of now that the previous manager’s hard-hitting regime was over.
How wrong I was.
Approaching Sixfields I was excited for the first time in months, taking my seat with a renewed sense of hope that this would be a brighter dawn following our dismal start to the season. There was a sense that a weight had been lifted after Johnson had left and the build up was one of real hope and expectation for the coming months with current front runners for the vacancy including the likes of Nicky Forster, Marcus Law and ex-boss Colin Calderwood. But within ninety minutes we realised that there wasn’t actually a great deal of difference and that the players brought in by Johnson just aren’t good enough.
Don’t get me wrong, Shrewsbury are one of the better teams that we’ve played this season. Well organised, disciplined and positionally sound. They had everything that we were missing.
Our line-up still stank of a Johnson side, with his assistant David Lee promoted to caretaker manager. His chances of getting the gig permanently were all but over by half-time as the Cobblers went in three to the bad thanks to a series of defensive errors. The combination of Ashley Westwood and Kelvin Langmead shredded apart undone on numerous occasions thanks to a complete lack of pace, as was Ben Tozer on the right.
A brief glimmer came early in the second half when Tozer rifled in a dead ball but, following a subsequent spell of momentum, we were undone finally with ten minutes on the clock as the dangerous Marvin Morgan danced through to make it 4-1. Big Bayo curled in a consolation but that’s when it really fell apart. Three goals in the last couple of minutes for the visitors had the crowd, buoyed slightly in the second half by slight hopes of a revival, in utter despair.
I can imagine that any prospective candidates on the sidelines may be thinking twice about attempting to turn this freighter around. Certainly since I started watching the Cobblers in the early 90s I’ve never seen anything like it. The teams is in disarray and for all the talk of a fresh slate the only thing different about this week and last was the man on the sidelines attempting to put the players in some sort of order. It’s not too difficult to predict that David Lee won’t be the new boss after this but whoever’s willing to come in is a very brave man indeed.