The Cobblers - A Good Omen
2nd September 2012
IT appears that visits from Northampton to Home Park are rather good ones for the Pilgrims.The last time the two sides met at Home Park, the Pilgrims recorded a much needed 4-1 victory.
On Saturday, Argyle won again. However, this time scoring one less, and conceding one more, winning 3-2.
The result on November 23,, 2011, kick-started a run that greatly contributed to Argyle surviving in npower League 2 last season.
Not only did it give confidence to the squad, but also to the manager, Carl Fletcher, with the result being his third victory in charge.
Argyle remained unbeaten for the whole of December 2011 after the victory over the Cobblers, collecting six points from a possible 12 (one win and three draws.)
No doubt before Saturday, Fletch would have hoping a win would spark something similar.
It was the second time in a week that the Pilgrims would face a side wearing claret, following the side’s 1-1 penalty shopot-out defeat in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, away at Burnley.
So out came the teams and, much to most people’s surprise, Northampton had chosen to wear their away strip, which, to confuse matters, was green.
Well, it was not quite Argyle green. More of a day-glo, fluorescent kind of green, but green nonetheless.
Argyle, having kicked off, dominated the first half, both in terms of chances and possession. Wottsy, Conor and Youngy were all retaining the ball well in midfield, and forcing the Cobblers to squeeze the Pilgrims.
Onismor Bhasera had a great chance to put the Pilgrims ahead, but got his angles all wrong as he nodded a Paris Cowan-Hall cross back towards the spot, rather than the goal as intended.
However, despite all the possession and chances, the Pilgrims could not find a way through and were made to pay on 26 minutes when Alex Nicholls put the Cobblers in front, following a neat turn in the box.
Just six minutes later, and Paris Cowan-Hall signalled to the bench that he could no longer continue, paving the way for the return of a player who fans adored while here on loan last season, Alex Macdonald.
Macca, as he is more affectionately known, returned to Argyle on transfer deadline day from parent club Burnley.
In fact, Macca actually played against Argyle earlier in the week, lining up on the right wing, forcing a duel between himself and his good pal Robbie Williams.
The second change of the game, coming at half-time, saw the introduction of another Argyle new boy.
Rhys Griffiths, former fireman and Welsh Premier League Golden Boot holder for seven consecutive seasons, replaced Paul Wotton for his first ever Argyle – and, Football League – appearance.
A rapturous applause sounded around Home Park to welcome the 32-year-old to the Pilgrims’ ship, and, the Welshman had an immediate impact. Rhys held the ball up well, and Bhasera crossed into the box, leaving Warren Feeney to nod home successfully for Argyle’s first league goal from open play.
So, all in all, a great start to the second half.
With 60 minutes on the clock, the Welshman’s debut got even better, as he showed just why he is been top scorer so many times in the Welsh Premier.
Some good link up play between himself and Feeno saw the ball arrive with MacDonald, whose cross was deflected into the path of Griffiths, and he never looked like missing as he calmly slotted home to give Argyle the lead.
Shortly after, though, it appeared Rhys had a recurrence of the injury that has kept him out so far. Fletch chose not to risk it and brought him off straight away.
However, the replacement puzzled a lot of people: Curtis Nelson, playing from the front, alongside Warren Feeney, as a striker.
What a substitution it proved to be by Fletch.
On 74 minutes, Williams put a teasing cross into the box, and, Nelson beat David Artell to the ball, heading it over the stranded Lee Nichols.
Has Mr Fletcher uncovered a new striker within the ranks?
David Artell grabbed a consolation late on, but, another nothing could deny another win against Northampton at home.
Could we see this victory kick Argyle on just as the victory last November did?
We would all love to see it.