DCSIMG

Jefferson Lake’s Gills v Cobblers view and player ratings: Still plenty to be positive about

PICK OF THE BUNCH - midfielder Ben Harding applauds the travelling Cobblers fans following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Gillingham (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

PICK OF THE BUNCH - midfielder Ben Harding applauds the travelling Cobblers fans following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Gillingham (Picture: Sharon Lucey)


 

Although Tuesday night’s loss at Gillingham was enough to knock the Cobblers out of the automatic promotion places, it is not one that should greatly concern the club or their supporters.

Both of the home side’s goals were freak events, as much to do with meteorology as actual football, with the wind claiming a huge assist for both.

Between them, there was not much to choose between the sides and it will have given those soaking wet away fans some encouragement to see their team compete with - and get the better of - a club top of league two for long spells of the match.

It is perhaps indicative of the quality of the division this season that the Gills, who did not excel at any point of the game, are at its summit.

This year’s league is one where the quality has not so much been diluted as flattened out, with three points separating Burton Albion in third and Rotherham United in ninth.

Burton, who replaced the Cobblers in the the top three, are another example of the lack of any outstanding teams in this year’s league two - at Sixfields they were resilient and well organised defensively, but also played a very limited game that was based almost entirely on spoiling in midfield and wasting time at every dead ball.

The key for Northampton (and any other team hoping to go up this season) is consistency.

The Cobblers have it at home, but Tuesday night’s slip from the automatic promotion places was yet another piece of evidence that home form alone is not enough.

It might get you into the play-offs, but top-three sides win on their travels and they win regularly on their travels.

Gillingham’s status as league leaders and the nature of their barely-deserved victory in midweek should give Aidy Boothroyd and his players nothing to fear about this division.

But, as has already been said dozens of times, they can forget all about the top three until they can find a way to be as good on the pitches of other teams as they are on their own at Sixfields.

Ratings

LEE NICHOLLS

Horrible error for the first goal but played well after that and handling was top notch in the conditions ...5

BEN TOZER

Contained Weston very well and was one of the side’s better performers ...6

KELVIN LANGMEAD

Stuck to the basics and executed well - came close to scoring off pre-planned corner kick move similar to the one at Torquay ...6

CLARKE CARLISLE

Sloppy foul to pick up an early booking and made some errors in the wind but got to grips with is as the game proceeded ...5

JOE WIDDOWSON

A sturdy outing and was not happy to pick up a booking towards the end for what was a nothing incident ...6

CHRIS HACKETT

A very quiet night by his standards, with the home side doubling up on his whenever possible ...6

LUKE GUTTRIDGE

Struggled to get his game going and found little passing rhythm in the difficult conditions ...5

LEWIS HORNBY

Not his best game but tried to keep things going even when Gillingham outnumbered the Cobblers in midfield ...5

BEN HARDING

Probably the team’s most consistent player on the night, unlucky not to score with a blocked shot and ticked all the boxed in general play ...6

JAKE ROBINSON

Enjoyed some very bright moments in the first half but faded out of it in the second and was eventually substituted ...5

CLIVE PLATT

Like Robinson, provided some good link-up play but influence diluted as the game wore on, especially after the break ...5

Substitutes:

ADEBAYO AKINFENWA (for Guttridge, 63mins)

The home defence and a lack of cohesive attacking play meant he was rarely in a position to cause problems ...5

ISHMEL DEMONTAGNAC (for Robinson, 80mins)

Not used: Snedker, Johnson, Oyeleke, Wilson, Moult

 

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