New Year, New Decade, New Hope?

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PREVIEW – Northampton Town v Stevenage: New Year, New Decade, New Hope? (01 January 2020)

We’re starting a brand-new year at the bottom of the table – so things can actually only get better. Like, they can’t get worse per se. There’s nowhere below us to go. Sure, things could stay the same. And, in a way, that’s as bad as getting worse. If we’re still where we are come May, that’s when things get worse. But why worry about something we’re gonna get out of soon enough*. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s Northampton – yeah?

And we’re feeling good.

Ish.

 

Northampton Town v Stevenage: The Preview…

Northampton Town – who are they?

If nowt else, our one-goal defeat to the Cobblers indoors earlier this season did one thing – it confirmed the rubbish balance of power between us and them. To look upon our head-to-head record is to stare into a big brown mess. With 11 meetings between us, you’d like to think we’d be better than one win. But we’re not – and that’s coming up for five years ago in April 2015. Still, we’re in the mood for a shift in fortunes with the new decade now here.

This is also a fixture with a bit of needle; two sent off for us at Sixfields in April 2011.

Our Record vs Northampton Town: P 11 — W 1 — D 2 — L 8 — F 9 — A 18 — Pts 4
Last time out: Stevenage 0-1 Northampton Town, 17 September 2019

How are Northampton Town doing so far this season?

The Cobblers’ form ain’t that all that different to Plymouth Argyle’s. After an inconsistent start, Northampton had a tidy little stretch in October and November to put them right in the playoff frame as we go into the New Year. Now two points outside the top seven, however, recent results have been a bit meh; one win in five since the start of December and without a victory in the last three.

At home, the Cobblers are on the money more often than not. From a potential 36 points on offer at their place, they’ve taken 23 of them. On the face of it, that sounds like they’ve dropped a fair few. But the league high is 26 points, which puts in context. Their record in front of goal is reasonable enough with 33 so far this term; two-thirds of which have come during the first half. And they’ve only conceded one fewer goal than ourselves; a third of which have come in the final 15. Now that sounds familiar.

Tell us something we don’t know about Northampton Town

For the first and only time in their history, the Cobblers propped up the Football League at the end of the 1993-4 season. While they had faced re-election at least three times before, they’d never actually finished bottom. Sadly, for them, the archaic election system was out the window. Luckily, however, top spot in the Conference went to Kidderminster Harriers – who weren’t allowed up. And so the Cobblers continued on their merry way.

What are the bookies’ odds for this game?

‘Not all that fancied’ is one way of putting it; the Cobblers best priced at 17/20 (Marathon) to take what the bookies see as a straightforward home win. It’ll be a tidy little New Year’s earner if you lump on us at 81/20 (Marathon) and it comes in, to be fair. If it’s Both Teams to Score you’re into, you can expect 11/10 (multiple) by looking hard enough. You’ll get a nice 7/2 (Betway) on Jason Cowley to score any time too…

Don’t forget – be responsible. And when the fun stops, stop.

Which Northampton Town player should we watch out for?

Sam Hoskins ain’t exactly prolific as League Two forwards go, but a return of six goals in 29 outings is better than the one in 14 he managed with us. He gets a fair few shots away too as well – well, you do have to buy a ticket to win the raffle after all. With no goals since the start of December, our former loanee is no doubt on the hunt when we’re in town.

Who is our ref for this match?

Trevor Kettle. Happy New flippin’ Year.

Our Record: P 14 — W 7 — D 3 — L 5 — F 18 — A 15
Last time out: Grimsby Town 0-2 Stevenage, 06 April 2019

And, finally, what do you reckon?

Look, don’t have a pop at us. We were spot on about Plymouth. And we’ll be spot on with the Cobblers. We just don’t do well against ’em. Sixfields is a terrible place too. So, you’ll find us sitting in a dark room rocking to and fro until the final whistle is blown. The season won’t be decided on New Year’s Day. But it can set the tone for the second half of it. Let’s get that one sorted and the rest will fall into place in the weeks to come.

Northampton Town v Stevenage scorecast: 2-1

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