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He Stoops To Conquer: Northampton Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 10/10/2004

An autumnal evening with a hint of a chill in the home counties (North), or is it the Midlands (South), one could never tell where that "Come Dancing" border was. It takes two to tango, but many more to work out where Northampton actually is.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Northampton (a)

Northampton Town 0 Grimsby Town 1
08 Oct 2004, Coca Cola League 2

It’s a larger-than-expected blob in the middle of England. Around 500 Town fans squeezed themselves noisily into the tiny seats behind a goal. Some were even complaining about DVT. Leg room? To the stewards that’s a Frenchman at a wedding. So that’s 500 Town fans sitting side saddle munching their cooling burgers and marvelling at Colin Cramb’s hair, sparkling in the shade, glistening in the gloom and almost roamin’ in the gloamin’. With Hockless permanently doubtful, Town have to conform with Football League regulation 23.81 subsection (b), you know, the one about every team must have at least one unfeasible hairstyle on the team sheet handed to the referee.

Town warmed up with the usual airy-fairy jogs and line dancing, though the sight of Sestanovich cheered up several of the more morose Mariners. Town lined up in a formation as shown. A formation? Town’s formations are in the eye of the beholder these days. It was very difficult to work it out, for there were definitely four defenders, with Crowe at right back, Gordon at left back. Cramb was upfront in the centre. The rest floated around. Sometimes there were four midfielders, sometimes five. Town were like a holey bellows, leaking air on the flanks. More later or, as the GET would say, "continued on page 42".

Finally, as kick off loomed the old lady programme seller arrived and was pounced upon by the culture vultures. It was, after all, the Division 3 runner up in the Programme of the Year awards. I must have missed that when it was screened live and exclusive on ITV. Flicking through their programme one couldn’t help but notice that Northampton provide the day jobs for members of the band Busted. Is Martin Reeves the lead singer? Or do all young people look like that? And they have a recent photograph of Tony Crane (remember him?) who has clearly slimmed down a lot. And shrunk. And had plastic surgery performed to make him look like Mike Edwards.

As we gazed out, the lights of the by-pass dazzled us. It’s so very Rushden: a plastic parody of a football ground; the business of entertainment, like it’s a cinema. Ah, but so much more comfortable for away fans and away players, the sort of place that’s...nice.

Town wore black socks. And other items of clothing too, of course. The usual.

1st half

Town kicked off towards the home supporters and immediately gave the ball away. The first five minutes were a little fraught for Town, as possession was not maintained and Northampton ripped into the mouldless jelly that was "the defence". Town’s left was a vast wilderness inhabited by some dawdling yaks and mangy polecats. Gordon kept tucking into the centre, whilst Parkinson occupied a limbo land between heaven and earth. Cobblers. Too right. Sabin had a splenetic, frenetic, kinetic start, drifting past Gordon, outpacing Forbes. Don’t panic, don’t panic.

Urgh, a minute gone, Sabin muscled out Forbes down their right and sprinted away in to the area, crossing low, crossing straight to Williams as Marooners lurked. A minute or so later Low, their Sestanovich-lite, trickled his way through a couple of nebulous challenges and crossed, being blocked for a corner. Gordon turned to Parkinson and gesticulated. Parkinson opened his arms and shrugged his shoulders. Another minute, another raid on their right. Forbes pushed aside by Sabin, who trumbled to the bye-line, looked up and rolled the ball across the face of goal. Playing without anyone on the left hand side wasn’t really working, was it.

Anthony Williams
Jason Crowe
Justin Whittleyellow card
Terrell Forbes
Dean Gordongoal
Terry Fleming
Stacy Coldicott
Thomas Pinault
Andy Parkinson
Colin Cramb
Michael Reddy


Ashley Sestanovich66 mins
John McDermott
Ronnie Bull
Rob Jones
Clint Marcelle


Lee Mason


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The report continues in Part Two.

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