Delighted Guthrie doing the business for Cobblers at both ends of the pitch

Defender thrilled with Town's start to the campaign

By James Heneghan
Friday, 17th September 2021, 10:23 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 10:24 am
Jon Guthrie blasts home the winner at Newport. Picture: Pete Norton.
Jon Guthrie blasts home the winner at Newport. Picture: Pete Norton.

If there is any truth in the old adage that defence wins you promotions, then the Cobblers are well on their way to a successful season.

A fifth clean sheet from seven league games, the most in the entire EFL, earned at Newport County on Tuesday night helped lift them to third place in Sky Bet League Two.

At the heart of the action, at both ends of the pitch, was once again Jon Guthrie.

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The centre-back spearheaded another impressive defensive performance to frustrate Newport's attack, and he also scored the game’s only goal, lashing home late in the first-half to move outright as Town’s top scorer in all competitions this season.

“It’s a great start and keeping five clean sheets in seven games is definitely something we have to be proud of,” said Guthrie.

“The back four and the goalkeeper have done really well but it’s not just about us, you see how hard everyone works in front of the defence and they do so much work which makes it a lot easier.

“Five in seven, you can’t complain about that, and a lot of it comes down to what we do in training because we work hard defensively as a group and everyone knows we’re very organised. Hopefully that continues.”

It’s probably not a sustainable strategy to have a centre-back as your top goalscorer over the course of a whole season, but for now, the Cobblers, and Guthrie, will take it.

“It is something I have been adding to my game of the last couple of years,” added the 29-year-old.

“Three goals is a good start to the season – who knows how many I will end up with!

“I always aim to score more than the previous season. I got five last year so I’m well on my way to better that and then I’ll see where it takes us if I get there.”

Theoretically, victory over Swindon Town this weekend could take Cobblers top of the table, but they would need a four-goal swing to overhaul both Forest Green Rovers and Harrogate Town.

Regardless, though, it has been an excellent start to the campaign and victory back at Sixfields on Saturday would further strengthen the case that Cobblers are genuine promotion contenders this season.

“It’s obviously early, only seven games, but with the start we’ve had, we can’t complain,” Guthrie continued.

“Two defeats in seven shows we’re hard to beat and hopefully we can keep this form up and take it game by game, step by step.

“I know it’s a cliche but we can’t look too far ahead.

“I think the character is what we’re built on because we have a great changing room and the staff are all great with us and we’re a very tight-knit group and we’ll stick together.

“We were disappointed with Saturday because we didn’t defend the goal as well as we have done in other games, but to bounce back at a difficult place like Newport, it just shows the character of the team.

“There was a lot of stoppage-time at the end of that game – I’m not sure were it came from! – but I felt quite comfortable during that period. You expect teams to come on to you when they’re a goal down but I thought we defended really well.

“We have Swindon next, they’re my local side and I’ll have a few friends in the away end, hopefully I can get one over on them!”