Calderwood says Cobblers showed they have a 'heart as big as a lion' to sink Orient

Assistant boss Colin Calderwood believes the Cobblers team proved it has 'a heart as big as a lion' in battling to Saturday's crucial 1-0 win over promotion rivals Leyton Orient at Sixfields.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:11 pm
Cobblers assistant boss Colin Calderwood (Picture: Pete Norton)

The Town players had to overcome horrible playing conditions as well as the loss of a clutch of key players, but they were still good enough to see off an Os side that had gone into the game on the back of an 11-match unbeaten run.

It certainly wasn't pretty on a grim, wet and windy afternoon, but Calderwood believes the Cobblers players did exactly what was required to warm the home supporters inside the stadium, saying the performance 'typified' what the fans want from their team.

Things went against Town with Shaun McWilliams was missing through suspension, in-form central defender Jon Guthrie ruled out as his wife went into labour on Saturday morning, and striker Kion Etete being forced off injured after just 20 minutes.

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But Town regrouped, took the lead just before half-time through Sam Hoskins' smart finish, and 'pulled one out of the fire' as they moved up to second in the Sky Bet League Two table.

"Anybody who is ahead of Orient come the end of the season will be certainly in the play-offs, and probably in the automatic places," said Calderwood.

"So to keep ahead of them and beat them in a game was important, and just the manner of the game I think was very satisfying for everybody, the coaching staff, manager and the players as well.

"It was all added to with Jon Guthrie's wife going into labour, and everybody grouped together and it was a feeling that we had really pulled one out of the fire a wee bit.

"For all the beautiful football that supporters want to see played, that game typified exactly what I feel Northampton fans want to see from their team.

"They want undoubted effort, added to real moments of good skill, and a team with a heart as big as a lion that deservedly hung on to the lead we snatched just before half-time."

One of the heroes of Saturday's win was teenager Max Dyche, who made his first home League start for the club, and played a key role as he not only helped the team to a 10th clean sheet of the season, but also claimed an assist for the goal as he flicked Mitch Pinnock's long throw into Hoskins' path.

Nicke Kabambe also answered the call as he replaced the on-song Etete, and Calderwood was delighted to see such squad players who haven't seen too much game time rise to the occasion.

Something that many more of them are going to have to do as the season progresses.

"Dom Raven played in one of the earlier games and got a great reception as he came off the pitch and then from everyone in the dressing room," said the Scot, who managed the Cobblers to promotion from league two in 2006.

"Max Dyche had a similar thing on Saturday, and the thing is if the team is doing reasonably well then the consistency in selection is fairly obvious.

"But in the moments when changes are made, to have a real depth in thickness in the squad, and thickness in a real belief that we can sustain a promotion push is definitely helped by the ones that haven't started nowhere near as many times as they would have wanted to.

"But I am absolutely certain their time will come, and you can see by the ebb and flow of injuries and suspensions, illnesses and even births, that people do get their chance and it is about being in that moment.

"In those difficult moments when you are not in the team, your professionalism has to be top level."