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Northampton Town fans roar home Cobblers as they secure Football League status

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Northampton mantained its proud record of being home to a club with Football League status after Cobblers secured a vital victory against Oxford United.

A sell-out crowd of more than 7,500 helped roar Northampton Town to a 3-1 win after going a goal down in the first 10 minutes.

On a bright, sunny day, dozens of Cobblers fans could be seen in the Market Square as early as 10am.

The sea of claret and white supporters slowly made their way up to the ground, stopping at The Sevens pub in Weedon Road, which opened especially for supporters.

As kick-off grew closer, fans packed into Sixfields and shouted their encouragement to the team making the stadium a cauldron of noise as the players took to the pitch.

After a minute’s applause for Cobblers fan David Henderson, the game started with a bone-shaking roar from the home fans.

But after just seven minutes the crowd was silenced when Oxford took the lead.

As their opponents began to take control of possession news filtered through that Wycombe were leading at Torquay.

At that moment Cobblers were down and anxious fans wondered if this was going to be the nightmare scenario they had dreaded.

Deprived of attacking inspiration, the team were in need of a lift and it came from an unlikely source - the referee.

Captain Ricky Ravenhill appeared to be pushed to the ground by an Oxford player who was then given a straight red card.

Faced with the knowledge they would now be playing a 10-man team, the Cobblers players quickly developed an extra spring in their step.

Home favourite Ivan Toney started to see more of the ball and then his strike partner John Marquis found himself one-on-one with the Oxford goalkeeper.

Marquis calmly slotted the ball inot the corner of the net and sent the Cobblers fans behind the goal into ecstatic celebrations.

Chances then started to come thick and fast for the home team and it was man of the moment Ivan Toney who then headed the Cobblers into the lead.

In celebration Toney pulled up his shirt to reveal a ‘dare to Ivan’ slogan that has summed up his rejuvinating effect on the Cobblers team with three goals in his last two games.

The crowd was now rocking with fans jumping up and down singing ‘we are staying up, now you’re going to believe us’.

Five minutes into the second half, the third, and decisive goal, went in and finally fans could start to relax and think of league football next year.

In a losing situation, a tepid, dull last 35 minutes of the game may have provoked an irritated reaction from fans.

But, safe in the knowledge they had the result they needed, supporters were able to relax and, in what was unthinkable after the first 15 minutes, enjoy the match peter out to it’s conclusion.

At the final whistle a gutteral roar of 6,000 fans expressing their relief Northampton Town had preserved their league status could probably be heard from Sixfields to Abington.

A pitch invasion quickly followed and a chant of ‘we are staying up’ was sung continuously.

In a show of appreciation to the fans, some players threw their boots into the crowd.

In a sign of how much his stock has risen, two teenagers, who caught Toney’s boots at the samme time, resorted to a game of rock,paper,scissors to resolve their dispute.

Northampton Town has a new homegrown hero and, after scoring such a cricial goal in the Cobbler’s history, the 18-year-old’s life will never be the same.

Sixfields is likely to look a lot different next year due to building work and many new players are expected to come into the club during the summer.

One thing will stay the same though, their place in League Two.

 

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