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Gripped by the Cobblers: Crewe win shows Cobblers have what it takes to mix it with the best in League 2

Tom Reed takes confidence from recent results

Despite Northampton’s recent good run there was apprehension going into the match against Dave Artell’s free-flowing Crewe at the weekend. Cobblers have struggled for possession at points this season and if ever there were opponents to pass Town to death it was the Railwaymen. Crewe have been topping short pass stats for fun and are the nearest thing you’ll find to tiki-taka in the basement division.

But while Crewe tried to weave their way through the Northampton rearguard they just couldn’t live with Cobblers presence in the Alexandra box and Sixfields had one of those days when the home fans seemed to be sucking the ball into the net.

Town’s first goal was an industrial as you like and came from the sort of melee that Curle relishes. He has his team out practicing head tennis where a well placed head or toe poke makes the difference and the Town boss would have celebrated Scott Wharton’s close range prod as much as he would a 30 yard worldie.

Wharton’s second wasn’t bad mind, coming from superlative technique from Nicky Adams to chop across the ball and send a pinged pass for the Blackburn loanee to stroke home on his left. 9 out of 10 centre-backs would have spooned the chance over but Wharton showed the skill that has had Curle keeping tracks on him for some time.

There was plenty of sour grapes from ex-Cobblers’ Artell after the game, as you would expect given his side hadn’t played that bad despite being whooped 4-1. Artell made note of some alleged blocking in the buildup to Wharton’s second but given the officials saw no infractions it was all inconsequential. Talk is cheap and Curle is often one to talk himself into a corner but there was only one winner when it counted tactically and that was the Northampton boss. 

Afterwards Crewe fans talked about Cobblers as a benchmark to try and perform against and that shows how Northampton have come on this season. Come through a tough December in 4th or 5th place and the autos would not be out of the question. Promotion is ours to lose put it that way.

Nicky Adams, the cross boss, tearing up the assist stats

A feather in the cap of Nicky Adams on Tuesday when statistic site Playmaker Stats revealed that the Northampton winger had the 4th highest number of assists since 2015/16 in the top 4 tiers. Adams sits behind Posh’s Marcus Maddison, the great De Bruyne of Man City and Tottenham’s classy Christian Eriksen which isn’t bad company bar the Peterborough element (boo).

So fair play to the cross boss, the prince of ping, the sultan of swazz, 2015/16 was the year Nicky Adams won the League with Town in his first spell, a season we’ll never forget.

McCormack on his way to being amongst the all time best NTFC holding midfielders

Some players just fit a certain club and Alan McCormack is one of those for Northampton Town. 

Barely a third of a way through a season and he is already fit to grace the all time great Cobblers defensive midfielders. Not only does the Dubliner have the bite that the shoe army love to see (check out his double tackle from Saturday) but McCormack knows how to play a smart ball to keep the play moving. We’ll be discussing on NQTFC this week where McCormack sits with the likes of Abdul Osman, Danny Jackman, Ian Taylor, Warren Donald and Joe Kiernan but even if it is a one season cameo for the 35 year-old, McCormack is showing the minerals to make the list. Winning promotion will make him a shoe in.

50 up for class act Akinfenwa, still banging them in for Wycombe at 37

It was no surprise to see Cobblers favourite Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring his 50th goal for League 1 Wycombe at the weekend. The big man hung in the air to plant a header past the Tranmere keeper to maintain Wycombe at the top of the division. A player like Neil Grayson we probably let go too soon and good to see Akinfenwa having the last laugh after Boothroyd’s idiotic benching of him in the playoff final V Bradford. I once watched Bayo training with the squad indoors at Lings Forum. His movement was lacking shall we say compared to some over enthusiastic team mates. All he did was collect the ball, shield it, turn and shoot. He scored 5 times as many goals as anyone else. Job done. That’s the lethality he has had his whole career.

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