When ex-Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd was appointed as the new Northampton Town manager in November 2011, the vast majority of Cobblers fans, myself included, were absolutely delighted. From the word go, the performances improved and – although the League position deteriorated before it improved – things were looking up at Sixfields. He took a group of almost non-league players and he managed to keep us up with two games to spare.
Last season he improved the squad considerably and turned the Cobblers from a struggling League 2 side into promotion hopefuls. He masterminded the club into the Play-Offs and the club finished the season 90 minutes away from winning promotion to League 1 an, whilst things have not gone to plan so far this season, I still believe Boothroyd is the right man to lead the club forward.
Boothroyd’s 100th game in charge of Northampton was Saturday’s away game against Plymouth and, to celebrate, here is a look at the three of the best matches and the worst match of his tenure so far…
3 of the best
Cheltenham 0 – 1 Northampton
The game that got the Cobblers to Wembley. We had a narrow 1-0 win lead from the first leg, but when Cheltenham won a penalty early on, things looked bleak. However, Lee Nicholls made a wonderful save and Luke Guttridge scored an absolutely terrific goal to secure a 2-0 aggregate win. Happy with what he had, Boothroyd made changes to ensure his team held the lead and they saw the game through, thanks to more good saves from Nicholls. A really impressive win, and one that will live long in the memory.
Northampton 2 – 1 Oxford
This game had everything. An early goal, courtesy of Guttridge, got the ball rolling, and the Cobblers should have extended their league after dominating the first half. Oxford scored just after half-time before Neil Kitson saved a penalty to swing the momentum back in favour of Northampton. Brett Williams scored a late screamer to claim all three points, before Michael Duberry was sent off. Both sets of fans were loud and lively throughout and it made for a terrific occasion.
Northampton 1 – 0 Torquay
Despite dominating the game, the Cobblers looked like they were going to have to settle for a point since this game was petering out into a 0-0 draw. Ben Tozer had a legitimate goal ruled out, whilst Roy O’Donovan made chance after chance but failed to take any. With the draw almost a certainty, one which could damage promotion hopes, O’Donovan met a Chris Hackett cross with a brilliant header to seal three points and send the Cobblers fans into raptures.
And the worst
Bradford City 3-0 Northampton
The obvious choice, just as much for the occasion as the performance itself. James Hanson, Rory McArdle and Naki Wells all scored, to blow the Cobblers away within the first 30 minutes. Poor defending, a lack of width and no focal point going forward all contributed to the Cobblers downfall, and the only players that came out of the match with any credit were Lee Nicholls and, at a push, Luke Guttridge. This is still a difficult game to reminisce about.
There are plenty more good memories I could have mentioned – like the 0-0 draw against Hereford, which kept us up, or the 2-1 win over Rotherham, a wonderful midweek game which is another one which had everything – just as there is plenty more bad memories I could have mentioned – the 4-0 defeat to Barnet and the 5-2 defeat to Southend. I’ve picked the ones that I did, based on how good or bad the performance was, but also based on the significance of the occasion. Here’s too more memories like the first three, and less like the last one!