Cobblers defender Cresswell aims to keep on scoring

HE'S GOT THE KNACK - Ryan Cresswell celebrates his goal on the final day of the season against Wycombe
HE'S GOT THE KNACK - Ryan Cresswell celebrates his goal on the final day of the season against Wycombe

There is something about a goal from an unexpected scorer that brings added joy to a supporter.

When you see a goalkeeper venturing forward in the final seconds and getting a crucial touch that saves a game, it elicits a different kind of emotion.

It is the same when a full-back bends a free-kick into the net or flies forward to pop up with a surprising strike.

And then there are the centre-backs putting their body on the line in the opposition box to get a goal from a set piece.

Kelvin Langmead almost perfected the art of hitting the net at vital times during his time at the Cobblers.

And that, allied with his strong defensive play, saw him taken to the hearts of the Town faithful.

He won the player of the year prize during 2013, when he scored eight times in 47 appearances as Cobblers reached the League Two play-off final.

But injury denied him the chance to produce any heroics in the final as Bradford proved better in both boxes to record a 3-0 win while Langmead watched on from the bench.

But Langmead, who was released in January after injury had plagued him for a prolonged period, still enjoyed cult status, with fans wishing his well as he headed to Ebbsfleet United.

Now, in his absence, there is a new kid on the block.

A new man who is taking up the mantle of goalscoring centre-back.

Ryan Cresswell has netted five goals in 37 appearances since joining Cobblers from Fleetwood last September.

And he has even started giving the club’s strikers some banter about his ability to outscore them.

“I’ve got a few goals and I said to Ives (Toney) not long ago that he’s got some way to go to get as many league goals,” said Cresswell, smiling.

“But he’s only a young kid and I’m sure he’ll go on and score many more. Everyone needs to chip in.

“If you can get goals throughout the side – your full-backs maybe scoring free-kicks, centre-halves notching a few goals, midfielders arriving late in the box and landing on seconds and finishing it and a striker who will get you 20 a season like we have (in Marc Richards) – it gives you a massive chance.”

Noted for his leadership qualities, Cresswell was brought in by boss Chris Wilder to ‘take charge of situations’.

It is certainly something he has done in the attacking sense, with last weekend’s header from a long throw levelling things up for Cobblers against Wycombe.

But the 27-year-old knows there is still plenty of work to be done at the other end of the pitch, with the Town defence still looking so porous.

“We haven’t kept the ball out of the back of the net,” he said simply when asked just why his team have conceded so many goals.

“When the ball spills and lands to someone in the box, we need to be throwing bodies on lines to block it. We should have someone who is willing to take one in the face.

“You look back on a couple of results and it’s happened a couple of times. I’m sure that will be rectified this summer.”

And Cobblers know it must be sorted if they are to turn this season’s 12th place finish into a promotion push next season.

They have shipped an alarming 62 goals in 46 games this season, meaning their 67 goals scored wasn’t enough for a top-seven spot.

And in what was a microcosm of their campaign, they fought back from 2-0 down to level things up against Wycombe last weekend, only to concede deep into added time and lose.

“The goals we’ve conceded, I won’t make excuses,” said Cresswell.

“It’s been disappointing and it simply isn’t good enough, but there have been injuries to the lads at key times.

“When we’ve been on a good run of form, someone has had to drop out and that’s been a disappointing factor.

“If you can try to get continuity in the players who play week in, week out you get an understanding.

“If you look at Wycombe’s record, the back four for the first six or seven months of the season never changed and we wish them well in the play-offs.”

But Cobblers will be hoping that next season it is they who will be pushing for a place in League One at this stage of the season.

And if Cresswell and Co can become as effective in their own half as they are in the opposition’s, they shouldn’t be too far away.