Jefferson Lake’s Carlisle United v Northampton Town view and player ratings

ANOTHER BAD DAY - more than 250 Cobblers fans travelled to Carlisle to see their team lose again (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
ANOTHER BAD DAY - more than 250 Cobblers fans travelled to Carlisle to see their team lose again (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Two hundred and fifty-five Cobblers fans travelled to Carlisle on Saturday in hope of an early Christmas present but were instead given yet another serving of thin winter gruel.

The statistics make reading that is as grim as pulling out Ebeneezer Scrooge in the office secret Santa - three straight losses, six defeats in the past seven games, 10 times in the past 13 in which Northampton have found themselves on the losing side.

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174545009

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174545009

The most damaging one of all is the number of league points accrued - just six in 10 games, a run which is relegation form, pure and simple.

Chris Wilder conceded after the game that the team are now ‘looking over their shoulders’ at the sides in the relegation places.

The gap to the dreaded dotted line is now five points, while Carlisle, by virtue of their victory on Saturday, are now just three behind the Cobblers.

The team have got themselves into a downward spiral of bad form and poor results.

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174707009

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174707009

Confidence is low because they are losing games and they are losing games because confidence is low.

The situation is not as desperate as the one Wilder inherited but it is certainly heading in that direction.

The losses have all been varied and against a selection of teams whose quality has too been of very differing standards.

Carlisle did not look like a particularly talented or capable outfit, but they were well organised and seemed fired up against a Northampton side they were fully aware were there for the taking.

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174653009

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174653009

Town, though, had plenty of chances to get themselves into a position from which they could get something from the game.

They had a large amount of good quality possession in their opponents’ defensive half during the second period of the game.

But there was not enough penetration and all too often the wrong option was chosen when in good areas; players regularly went inside with passes, where there were covering players, rather than taking the extra touch and using the winger.

When they did cycle the ball to Chris Hackett his aim was well and truly out with his delivery into the box - of around eight or nine crosses, only one was really on the money, the rest were either underhit or overhit, usually the latter.

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174638009

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174638009

So while there are some crumbs of comfort for Wilder and his players to take from their longest trek of the campaign it is difficult to be truly positive about the Cobblers and their current situation.

It is unlikely to be a particularly merry Christmas at Sixfields, where - once again - the greatest gift the supporters will get this year will be to prolong their club’s Football League life.

Player ratings

Matt Duke

Badly exposed on both goals but commanded his area pretty well and will be keen to play behind a more settled defence ...6

Ben Tozer

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174418009

Carlisle v Northampton Town. NNL-141220-174418009

No glaring errors and kept his winger in check for the majority of the game in a big improvement on last weekend ...5

Zander Diamond

Unfortunate to not get more of the aerial challenge from which Archibald-Henville scored Carlisle’s first goal and good to have him back ...5

Kelvin Langmead

Won’t be happy that Carlisle’s second goal came from within the six-yard box but the runner had not been tracked from much further out ...5

Evan Horwood

Won the penalty with a good run forward but was given plenty of work to do by Amoo, who had a good game on Carlisle’s right wing ...5

Ollie Banks

Seemed to be trying too hard and played some passes that were never going to come off before making a reasonably early exit ...4

Stewart Murdoch

Was in and out of the game did not really do enough to stamp his authority on the central midfield battleground ...5

Darren Carter

Quiet in the second half but hit a superb shot in the first period which brought an excellent save from the home keeper at full stretch ...6

Joel Byrom

Was possibly the pick of the Cobblers side in the first half and teed up Horwood with the pass from which he won the penalty ...6

Ivan Toney

Competed well at all times and played with skill and confidence. Booking for unsporting behaviour was just ridiculous ...6 STAR MAN

Marc Richards

Took his penalty well and led the line to good effect, albeit with not a huge amount of quality service ...6


Chris Hackett (for Banks, 65mins)

Got into some good areas but his crosses were well below his standard and something doesn’t seem right at the moment ...4

Kaid Mohamed (for Byrom, 65mins)

Looked good in flashes and his long runs with the ball were very useful at relieving pressure in tight situations ...5

Lawson D’Ath (for Tozer, 77mins)

Didn’t let himself down at right-back and injected a little more pace into that area of the pitch ...6

Not used: Snedker, Collins, Robertson, Alfei