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Jefferson Lake’s Northampton Town v Plymouth view and player ratings

STRUGGLING - Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Duke endured a difficult afternoon in the 2-0 defeat to Plymouth on Saturday (Pictures: Kelly Cooper)

STRUGGLING - Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Duke endured a difficult afternoon in the 2-0 defeat to Plymouth on Saturday (Pictures: Kelly Cooper)

 

As the Plymouth fans were toasting their win at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon, their Cobblers counterparts responded with a chant of their own that is becoming depressingly regular: “You’re nothing special, we lose every week.”

Both of those facts were true at the weekend, just as they have been on countless occasions this season.

Losses to good teams, while not exactly acceptable, are at least palatable; Chesterfield, for example, looked like a strong side and one that fully deserved their three points.

Not that Plymouth didn’t deserve to win - they did.

They mastered the conditions better than Northampton and took the chances that came their way.

It would be easy to portray this match as a tale of two goalkeepers - Matt Duke continued his poor recent form by letting a shot that he could have thrown his proverbial hat on squirm under him for Argyle’s first.

Their second was more of a catalogue of errors with the gale playing a key part to sweep Lewis Alessandra’s cross in at the back post.

When the teams turned around it was clear Northampton, with the wind at their backs, would have more of the attacking possession and the vast majority of the game was concentrated into the end of the field in front of the Dave Bowen Stand.

But they did not capitalise on the conditions in the way Plymouth did and goalkeeper Jake Cole was steady and assured where Duke had been uncertain and inconsistent, which proved pivotal on the scoresheet and in the match outcome.

The defeat is a substantial setback.

The team, reinforced by six new signings in the past fortnight and with four of them making their debuts, is now as strong as it is likely to be at any point this season.

To get the best out of all those new players will require a period of games to build up some chemistry and understanding, but the Cobblers do not have the luxury of time.

They need to start getting results before they are cut too far adrift - for some seven points and a woeful goal difference is already enough to make relegation a foregone conclusion.

It is not, of course, but things need to get better and they need to get better as a matter of extreme urgency.

Because, all season, the teams that aren’t special have been lording it over this Northampton team, regardless of who is wearing the jerseys.

The names on the team sheet have changed but as the song says, they still lose every week.

Player ratings

MATT DUKE

A really bad day at the office - goal kicking was a struggle and the first goal was an error. While the wind played a part, it was not the sole factor ...4

LEON McSWEENEY

Did little wrong and was only able to play his natural attacking game when the conditions were in Town’s favour in the second half ...6

LEE COLLINS

Perhaps should have cut off the pass into Reid for the first goal but was solid enough before sustaining a toe injury ...6

MATHIAS DOUMBE

Competed strongly with Boco and one sliding challenge in the first half prevented Plymouth from getting into a goalscoring area ...6

JOE WIDDOWSON

A sloppy but maybe unfortunate booking for a player who is badly struggling to recapture his form of last season ...5

CHRIS HACKETT

A couple of bright moments but seems to be feeling his way back to full sharpness after a stop-start season of injuries ...5

RICKY RAVENHILL

Typically combative and often found himself in areas where he was the attacking midfielder, which does not suit his game ...5

DARREN CARTER

Had one of those games where everything he tried to do went wrong. Difficult to know what his role will be going forward ...4

BEN DICKENSON

The loanee was the best player in a team that has taken the emphasis off signing loan players. Performed with pace and purpose throughout ...6 - STAR MAN

EMILE SINCLAIR

Should have cleared Plymouth’s second goal and will probably benefit from playing a run of games to shake off the cobwebs ...5

ALAN CONNELL

A decent performance in which he looked threatening around the box but failed to connect with a good headed chance midway through the first half ...6

Substitutes:

ANTONIO GERMAN (for Collins, 68 mins)

Provided a bit of a spark as the Cobblers switched to a 3-4-3 system to chase the game ...6

Not used: Morris, O’Donovan, Tozer, Snedker, Deegan, Robertson

 

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