Oh, look – it’s the rare treat that is a midweek league game; the bright lights of Northampton Town calling us up the road. Now, it’s only been 10 days since we took on who we think are a bone fide bogey team in the unsightly and unusual shape of Exeter City. But, alas our friends, here are the Cobblers. And they’ll take that sense of dread you feel when we’re up against the Grecians and multiply it. For our record against the side from Sixfields is all but dreadful…
… so far.
Northampton Town v Stevenage
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton — 19 October 2021 — Sky Bet League Two
Take a look at any side in this season’s League Two. And we mean any side against whom we’ve played enough times to know how the land lies. So, no Salford City. Our win rate when it comes to the Cobblers must be the worst. The easy thing would be for us to have a look. But, when you come to read this, we’ll be on another holibob. And, this time, we’re going for pure digital detox. A football season can really take it out of you, can’t it?
This is also, historically, a bad-tempered affair. To be honest, we’ll pin the blame on Lionel Perez for starting that. Our first-ever meeting against the Cobblers was in late 2005; FA Cup Round Two if you want details. A credible 2-2 draw against a team flying high in League Two on 3 December 2005 was marred by our French goalkeeper-turned-coach allegedly plunging two fingers into the eye of Cobblers coach Dave Watson.
Boro’ fell understandably short in the replay 10 days later, by the way.
On a par with the Cobblers
Our promotion to the Football League five years later set us up for a first league encounter with the Cobblers. But our head-to-head record was still very uneven. At the Lamex on 11 December 2010, we went down by a single goal; Darius Charles sent off after coming on at the interval. To double down on our luck, Boro’ had TWO men who saw red at Sixfields (Luke Foster and John Mousinho) on 30 April 2011 as we lost 2-0. Not that it stopped us making the playoffs.
After our little adventure in League One, we were reunited with the Cobblers again in 2014. But our fortunes didn’t change; losing 1-0 at Sixfields on 22 November 2014. Well, we can say they didn’t change. And, yet, on 11 April 2015, they did. Simon Walton scored a stoppage time goal to secure a 2-1 home win. He’d only come onto the pitch with three minutes left.
Sadly, that remains our only high point against the Cobblers. They went up in 2015-6 after a six-point haul against us; Fraser Franks sent off in our 3-2 home defeat on 19 March 2016. And our 1-1 away draw when they came back down on 15 December 2018 is as good as we’ve managed in the last six-and-a-bit years. We suffered three straight defeats after that, although the run did end with a goalless Papa John’s Trophy draw last season…
… which the Cobblers won on penalties. It never rains, but pours against this lot.