We had the chance to do the safety thing at Crawley on our last outing but a totally inept first half performance cost us dear, conceding three goals with no reply thanks to a poor defensive display which was summed up by Crawley’s third goal, an own goal scored by unlucky keeper Neil Kitson.
So Northampton fans headed to Edgar Street, Hereford to play a team who were bottom of the football league scrapping for their lives. It was rather in hope than expectation of getting that solitary point we needed for survival as being a Northampton fan you always know that we don’t like to do things easy and this game proved to be another nail biting 90 minutes.
So the game started and as expected Hereford were throwing everything at us with Kitson making up for Tuesday night by tipping over a shot from Barkhuizen. Thoughts of the game at Sixfields earlier in the season began to cross my mind as Hereford were beginning to become one of these teams we always seem to struggle against, they beat us easily at Sixfields 3-1 and dare I even mention the season before at Sixfields we were cruising against them 3-0 up at half time we stood off in the second half and ended up losing 4-3, these were definitely a side I was going to be concerned about.
As the game went on we tried to get a foothold on the game and we managed to create a few chances of our own. Big Bayo hit the post with a neat shot just inside the area, Guttridge then fired over and Tozer headed wide but it was definitely beginning to have the feel of one of those games that we were not going to score no matter what we tried.
Then in the closing 10 minutes of the first half Hereford had the ball in the back of the net but fortunately the ref had his arm in the air and the goal had been disallowed for an apparent push by the goalscorer, I thought maybe our luck was on the turn.
The 2nd half began and Hereford dominated long periods of it, Clarke Carlisle clearing off the line like the great captain he has been at the club since he signed on loan from Burnley. Hereford had another chance but Kitson foiled them again with a save from close range I started to feel any minute they were going to score as they were definitely fighting for their lives.
Stoppage time arrived before we knew it and the Bulls were throwing it all at us, they really should have scored again with a header but lucky for us it was headed straight at Kitson. Then came the point in the game I knew lady luck was shining upon us as Featherstone hit a shot from 25 yards, it beat Kitson but the ball hit the inside of the post and bounced away to safety, that was it full time and our league status was secure for another season.
I have never felt such relief in my life as I really thought we were going to end up taking it to the last day of the season. I know a lot of people will say yeah but you were 8 points ahead of the relegation zone but as a Northampton fan you never take anything like that for granted.
So we go into the final two games of the season with the pressure off our backs and now any pressure is shifted onto the players whose contracts run out during the summer as they try to save their Cobblers future. I now trust Aidy Boothroyd to make the right decisions on the future of the club. Roll on next season when we will be full of optimism once more.
Up The Cobblers.