- On January 27, 2019
Sixfields, Saturday 26 January 2019, 3pm League 2
Att: 4512 with 96 away fans
Shrimps 4-4-2 Halstead Mills Lavelle Sutton Cranston Kenyon c Tutte Ellison Oates Oliver Bennett subs used Mandeville for Oates 72, McKay for Bennet 90 +2
Cobblers 3-5-2 Cornell Williams Taylor Pierre c Facey Bridge Turnbull Powell Elsnick Hoskins Morias subs used D Powell for Morias 70, Roberts for J Powell 76, Williams for Facey 66..
Ref: Lee Collins, did OK, manage to miss most of the pushed and shoves and tackles from behind on Bennett and Oliver but miraculously saw them when Sutton and Lavelle were equally as subtle.
The concern is the lack of points and there lack of wins. To some extent the home form is a disaster as we have thrown points away in the final minutes so many times, particularly at the Globe. However, todays test at Sixfields was the return fixture of our important win at home in the late summer when Alex Kenyon ended up in goals after Baz was sent for an early shower. What a night that was?
Simply put, most of our games these days are of two halves. One half where we are diffident and stand offish, almost always going a goal behind, and then another half where we are bullish, pushing forward and confident. Stevenage was thus and so it proved again.
The Cobblers played into the teeth of very high wind, and after a period of settling, began to assert pressure on the Shrimps goal, mainly from down the left through Bridge, who was proving a tricky opponent. However Halstead fell gratefully on couple of weak efforts before from one such raid, this time down the right with Facey crossing to the back post, Bridge sent it back in, Sutton cleared, Powell shot, Lavelle cleared from the 6 yard box only as far as Elsnick who smashed gleefully home from 7 yards on 22 minutes. Up to that point neither side had dominated possession, but the Shrimps passes were overhit, underhit or mis-trapped in the final third.
Our best move of the first half ended with Tutte unleashing a fierce drive which Cornell did well to parry but the corner was cleared without fuss. As half time approached, Powell had a header just wide and Elsnick tried a speculative effort which was deflected for a harmless corner.
So at half time, we looked a little down and sorry for ourselves.
The second half opened with the Shrimps looking as if they had received a bomb up their butt, wind against them or not. Bridge, who had dominated the left flank, and Facey, who had been similar on the right, found it difficult to control our full backs pushing on. Cranston and Ellison paying some neat one two’s and getting crosses in which were hastily cleared for throws. From another sweeping move, Oates broke into the half, Cranston carried the run on and swept the ball on to Kev who hammered a great low hard cross for Bennett to just get something on three yards out at the back post, and we were level.
We surged forward, Oates going so close with cute turn and curler just wide on 70. Then Tutte broke from midfield and surged down the right, his lovely reverse pass was planted home by Oliver, who was unfortunately a yard offside.
Kev then broke into the box and had his first effort blocked but his follow up with his right foot was soft and Cornell gathered. Mandy replaced Oates and we still took the game to them. A lovely move and great Oliver knock down released Mandy in the final minute who snatched at his shot from the edge of the box and was gutted as it skittered wide, the chance had gone.
So it ended honours even, another good away point, but this needs following up with another decent 90 minute performance at Oldham next week and then three points from a home game asap.
Bennett worked tirelessly and was not protected at all, being clattered from behind, shirt pulled and generally knocked about, as soon as he tried to do the same he was penalised. Sutton looks a good signing, calm and assured at the back, with both full backs in the second half knitting some great moves together.
The question is, why can we not do this for longer than one half and why does it take us to go a goal down to motivate us as an attacking unit??