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League Two Lowdown: Northampton

30 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Cobblers

Meetings with Pompey
There are two landmark final day fixtures between Pompey and Northampton.

Emotions were already running high because of Jimmy Dickinson’s 764th and final appearance for the Blues in April 1965. But Alex Wilson’s equaliser with six minutes remaining also ensured second division survival for Pompey.

Them, 15 years later, the Blues needed to win and hope Peterborough did them a favour by beating Bradford in order to secure the final Division Four promotion spot.

Pompey did their bit as goals from Steve Davey and Ian Purdie secured victory. There was a tense wait for news from London Road, but delirium ensured when the news came through that Peterborough had also triumphed.

The first Football League meetings – there were several other Southern League clashes –   formed a Division Three double header. Northampton won 1-0 in October 1920, while seven days later Frank Stringfellow and William James scored in a 2-0 Blues victory.

The sides last faced off in a 2003 League Cup tie when newly-promoted Premier League Pompey thrashed the Cobblers 5-2, with Tim Sherwood (2), Jason Roberts (2) and Matt Taylor all on the scoresheet.

Northampton have only ever won once at Fratton Park, triumphing 3-1 in a Division Three match in 1924.

Northampton history
Northampton were formed in 1897 following a meeting between some of the town’s school teachers and local solicitor AJ Darnell.

They were nicknamed the Cobblers because of the area’s links to the shoe-making industry and shared their County Ground with Northamptonshire Cricket Club.

Northampton conceded a club record 103 goals in the 1919/20 season, but were still elected into the Football League the following year.

There were respectable finishes in Division Three (South) leading up to the Second World War, but they lost 10-0 at Bournemouth in the final match before football was suspended – still a club record defeat.

The Cobblers’ one and only season in the top-flight occurred in 1965/66 following a rise from fourth division to first in the space of five years. However, it only took a bit longer than that for them to then drop all the way back to the basement.

Northampton lose 8-2 in a televised FA Cup tie against Manchester United in 1970 – with George Bets netting six goals – and were forced to apply for re-election the following year.

They rose back up to the third division in 1975, with every player on the books – including goalkeeper Alan Starling – scoring.

But they were back in Division Four a year later and the first half of the 1980s were a constant struggle, with a record low attendance of 942 watching a defeat to Chester in 1985.

Another promotion and relegation followed and in April 1992 the club entered administration with debts of £1.6 million. 

Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust were formed, holding a share in the club and having a representative on the board.

The Cobblers won on the final day in 1993 to avoid relegation to the Conference and they only avoided the drop 12 months later because Kidderminster’s ground did not meet Football League standards.

They moved to their new Sixfields home in October 1994 and celebrated their centenary season in 1996/97 by going to Wembley for the first time and beating Swansea in the Division Three play-off final.

Northampton returned to the same venue in 1998, but this time lost to Grimsby in the Division Two play-off final and were back in the basement the following year.

Northampton present
The Cobblers were promoted again in 2000, but the collapse of ITV Digital and a failed takeover saw them relegated in debt in 2002/03.

A couple of seasons of play-off heartache followed before Northampton were promoted again in 2006, but they only lasted three seasons in League One.

They caused an upset by knocking Liverpool out of the League Cup in 2010/11 and finished sixth in League Two last term, beating Cheltenham over two legs in the play-offs before losing 3-0 to Bradford at Wembley.

Information for Pompey fans
All of Pompey’s previous away games at Northampton took place at the Cobblers’ old County Ground.

Away supporters at Sixfields are housed in the Paul Cox Panel & Paint South Stand, which can hold 800 people. A further 300 seats can be made available in the Alwyn Hargrave Stand.

A nearby leisure complex contains the Sixfields Tavern (part of the Hungry Horse chain), as well as a KFC and McDonald’s. Frankie & Benny’s and TGI restaurants are also close by.

Travelling by road
Postcode: NN5 5QA
Distance from Fratton Park: 133.3 miles
Estimated drive time: 2 hours 27 minutes

Leave the M1 at Junction 15A and take the A43 towards Northampton. The ground is located on your right.

Travelling by rail
The station is located two miles from the ground and the journey from Portsmouth stations, via London Euston, lasts approximately three-and-a-half hours. The standard adult fare is £56.10.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Northampton: Sunday, December 29 (3pm)
Northampton v Pompey: Monday, April 21 (3pm)

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