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Preview: Northampton Town v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers suffered a heartbreaking defeat after conceding a winner in injury-time to lose 2-1 to Rochdale last weekend. The hosts were worthy of a point and might have had more but for poor finishing. Their profligacy came back to haunt them however as the visitors snatched the points with a deflected shot in time added-on and it leaves the Blues without a win in half-a-dozen matches and above the relegation zone only by virtue of a less inferior goal difference.

Gareth Ainsworth will have been encouraged with the performance, if not the result. Defender Leon Johnson made a welcome return to the side after recovering from a knee injury whilst striker Dean Morgan returned from a hamstring injury. Charles Dunne switched to right-back with Stuart Lewis reverting to his preferred position in the middle of the park. The stand-out moment was undoubtedly the equalising goal from winger Joel Grant, which wouldn't have looked out of place in the Premier League.

Whilst the result was galling, the performance was cause for hope that there is enough quality in the squad to avoid a desperate battle to retain our Football League status this season. That objective will once again be to the fore when the Blues travel to the Sixfields Stadium to face Northampton Town this weekend. The Cobblers have had their own struggles at the wrong end of League Two in the past two seasons, but they currently sit in 12th place in the standings and look to have enough about them to avoid a similar fate this time around.

Ex-Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd is now in charge of Northampton Town and his sides are usually renowned for their agricultural style. Striker Adebayo Akinfenwa is likely to lead the line alongside the equally physical presence of Clive Platt after recovering from illness. Two ex-Wanderers are currently plying their trade with the Cobblers. Midfielder Ben Harding has just returned to the squad after two months out with an ankle injury and is set to start at the weekend. Winger Chris Hackett is a doubt however after missing the midweek cup defeat to Bradford City through illness.

This will be the Blues' eleventh trip to the land of the shoes with the first meeting coming back in November 1958 at their old County Ground. A crowd of almost 13,000 saw the home side win 2-0 in a F.A. Cup first round tie. The first league meeting came in October 1993, again at the County Ground. The Wanderers inexplicably wore their green and white tea towel change kit and looked lethargic after the exertions of extra time against Coventry City in a League Cup tie earlier in the week. Winger Steve Guppy came up with a rare header to level midway through the second half as the visitors escaped with a 1-1 draw.

It wasn't until February 1998 that the sides met again at Northampton's new Sixfields Stadium on a relatively mild Tuesday evening. A typically lacklustre away display under John Gregory saw the hosts cruise to a routine 2-0 victory. Nine months later the two sides played out a 1-1 draw under Neil Smillie. Jermaine McSporran made his Wanderers debut as a second half substitute with defender Nicky Mohan having levelled matters before the break. There was an entertaining 2-2 draw in December 2000 on a bitterly cold afternoon with the visitors twice surrendering the lead after Steve Brown and Dannie Bulman had found the net.

An embarrassing 4-1 defeat in April 2002 was the catalyst for a bizarre fairy story about a little boy written by Lawrie Sanchez in the final home matchday programme of the season against Oldham Athletic the following weekend. He handed defender Andy Thomson his debut following his signing from Bristol Rovers in a back five and the visitors took a one goal lead into the break with striker Gavin Holligan scoring his finest goal in the quarters. The side collapsed like a pack of cards in the second half as they conceded four goals to fall to a lamentable defeat.

From the ridiculous came the sublime in January 2003 as Stuart Roberts came off the bench to tear the Cobblers apart with a second half hat-trick to add to first half goals from Jonny Dixon and Michael Simpson in a memorable 5-0 victory. Northampton Town were relegated at the end of that season and a year later the Wanderers followed. The sides renewned acquaintances in August 2004 with striker Ian Stonebridge scoring his first goal for the club from Nathan Tyson's low cross on the stroke of half-time. Striker Marc Richards levelled for the home side a minute into the second half and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

John Gorman's entertaining side drew a rare blank in January 2006 as the sides played out a goal-less draw with Tommy Mooney coming the closest when he shot crashed against a post. Jermaine Easter made his debut for the Blues as a half-time substitute in that game following his 80,000 move from Stockport County. The last meeting came in August 2010 when the Chairboys threw away three points when Ben Strevens conceded a needless penalty with just two minutes remaining. He endured a nightmare afternoon having already missed a sitter which would have doubled the lead earned by Andy Sandell's first-half free-kick.

Gareth Ainsworth may be tempted to stick with the same squad as last weekend. The current injury list is as follows...

Leon Johnson (Centre Back) - available (returned from a knee injury last weekend)

Dean Morgan (Attacker) - available (returned from a hamstring injury last weekend)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - doubtful (returned to training after recovering from a groin injury this week)

Matt McClure (Attacker) - doubtful (returned to training after recovering from a hamstring injury this week)

Anthony Stewart (Right / Centre Back) - thigh muscle injury (could miss the next ten days)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - back injury (could miss the next ten days)

Marvin McCoy (Right Back) - ankle ligament injury (has returned to training, could be back in two to three weeks)

Matt Spring (Midfielder) - calf injury (could miss the next ten days)

Jo Kuffour (Attacker) - ankle ligament injury (could miss the next ten days)

Grant Basey (Left-Back) - anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (will miss the rest of the season after surgery)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - groin injury (no timescale for recovery given)

The Wanderers lined-up like this last time out (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Charles Dunne - Dave Winfield - Leon Johnson - Sam Wood

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Bruno Andrade

Dean Morgan - Dennis Oli

Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Gareth Ainsworth, Junior Morais, Oliver Taylor, Richard Logan

Northampton Town are unlikely to go into Saturday's game without some physical and mental exhaustion from their F.A. Cup exit at the hands of Bradford City in midweek. They looked to be heading out when they conceded a penalty in the final minute of normal time only for Clive Platt to equalise three minutes into injury-time. Defender Kevin Langmead then put the Cobblers ahead only to concede an equaliser in injury-time at the end of extra time to draw 3-3. Danny East and Langmead then missed from the spot as they lost 4-2 in the penalty shoot-out.

Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls will return between the sticks having missed the cup replay after being refused permission to play by parent club Wigan Athletic. Shane Higgs will drop back to the bench. Striker Jake Robinson is also available again after being cup-tied, having played whilst on loan at Luton Town, but is also likely to be named as a substitute. Striker Louis Moult serves the last of a three match ban whilst defender John Johnson is sidelined with a knee injury.

Defender Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery whilst defender David Artell will miss the next two months with a torn achilles. Midfielder Luke Guttridge is set for ten weeks on the sidelines after breaking a metatarsal. Striker Alex Nicholls has begun his rehabilitation following surgery on a broken leg and won't play again this season. Northampton Town may line-up something like this (4-4-2):

Lee Nicholls

Danny East - Ben Tozer - Kelvin Langmead - Joe Widdowson

Chris Hackett - Ben Harding - Emyr Rhys - Ishmel Demontagnac

Adebayo Akinfenwa - Clive Platt

Subs: Shane Higgs, Anthony Charles, Kemar Roofe, Lewis Hornby, Lewis Wilson, Henoc Mukendi, Jake Robinson


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 22nd place with 13 points from 16 games and Northampton in 12th spot with 23 points from 17 games.


North'ton Home Record....W 4 - D 2 - L 2 - Pts 14...Ppg 1.75 (Rank-8)

Wycombe Away Record....W 2 - D 1 - L 5 - Pts 7....Ppg 0.88 (Rank-21)


Northampton's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Port Vale (H).............Won 2-0

FAC: Bradford (H)............Drew 1-1

Lg2: York City (A)............Drew 1-1

Lg2: Accrington (A)............Won 4-2

FAC: Bradford (A)..............Lost 3-3 (2-4 on pens)


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Barnet (H)................Drew 0-0

Lg2: Oxford (H).................Lost 1-3

FAC: Crewe (A).................Lost 1-4

Lg2: Aldershot (A)............Drew 0-0

Lg2: Rochdale (H)..............Lost 1-2


Northampton Goal Stats (23 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 25...Cups: 10...Total: 35

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 24...Cups: 9.....Total: 33

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 13...Cups: 7.....Total: 20

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 7.....Cups: 6.....Total: 13

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 6.....Cups: 1.....Total: 7


Wycombe Goal Stats (19 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 14...Cups: 4...Total: 18

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 25...Cups: 6...Total: 31

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 8.....Cups: 4...Total: 12

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 15...Cups: 6...Total: 21

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3


Northampton's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Ade Akinfenwa........10

Alex Nicholls.............8

David Artell..............4

Kelvin Langmead......3

Clive Platt................2

Chris Hackett...........2

Jake Robinson..........2

Louis Moult...............2

Two other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Joel Grant................4

Dean Morgan............3

OG..........................2

Gareth Ainsworth......1

Bruno Andrade.........1

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Matt McClure............1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1

Sam Wood...............1


Northampton Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Alex Nicholls........32 on-target...17 off-target...0 against woodwork

Ade Akinfenwa.....22 on-target...19 off-target...2 against woodwork

Chris Hackett.......18 on-target...23 off-target...4 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Joel Grant...........9 on-target...13 off-target...0 against woodwork

Dean Morgan.....10 on-target.....5 off-target...0 against woodwork

Joe Kuffour..........5 on-target.....7 off-target...2 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

North'ton...106 on target...96 off target...12 against w'work (Rank-3)

Wycombe....53 on target...60 off target....0 against w'work (Rank-23)


Most Assists

Northampton - Hackett & Tozer..............5

Wycombe - Ainsworth, Grant & Lewis......2


League Form Guide

All Season


North'ton.....Pld: 17...W: 6...D: 5...L: 6...Pts: 23...Pts per game: 1.35

Wycombe....Pld: 16...W: 3...D: 4...L: 9...Pts: 13...Pts per game: 0.81


Last Five league Games

North'ton.......LLWDW - 7 points (Rank-13)

Wycombe........LDLDL - 2 points (Rank-24)


Last Five League Games (Home)

North'ton.......DLWLW - 7 points (Rank-12)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe........LLWLD - 4 points (Rank-20)


Against Top Half Opposition

North'ton.......Pld: 9...Pts: 12...Pts per game: 1.33...(Rank-6)

Wycombe......Pld: 8...Pts: 7.....Pts per game: 0.88...(Rank-18)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

North'ton.......Pld: 8...Pts: 11...Pts per game: 1.38...(Rank-16)

Wycombe......Pld: 8...Pts: 6.....Pts per game: 0.75...(Rank-22)


Previous Meetings

In 21 previous meetings there have been 6 wins for Northampton, 4 for Wycombe and 11 draws.

In Northampton the tally is 3 wins for the Cobblers, 1 for the Chairboys and 6 draws.

1958/59 FAC: Northampton 2 Wycombe 0

1993/94 LG2: Northampton 1 Wycombe 1

1997/98 LG1: Northampton 2 Wycombe 0

1998/99 LG1: Northampton 1 Wycombe 1

2000/01 LG1: Northampton 2 Wycombe 2

2001/02 LG1: Northampton 4 Wycombe 1

2002/03 LG1: Northampton 0 Wycombe 5

2004/05 LG2: Northampton 1 Wycombe 1

2005/06 LG2: Northampton 0 Wycombe 0

2010/11 LG2: Northampton 1 Wycombe 1


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Paul Tierney from Lancashire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2009. His most recent Wycombe game was a 2-1 defeat at home to Chesterfield in October 2010. During the current campaign he's issued 2 red and 31 yellow cards in 13 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Northampton 2 Wycombe 0

Len: Northampton 3 Wycombe 1





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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 15 2012

Time: 3:08PM

 

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