IT'S 25-UP FOR SIXFIELDS!: Looking back on 25 key games from the first 25 years...

This week sees the 25th anniversary of the Cobblers' move from the County Ground to Sixfields Stadium.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 8:24 am
Martin Aldridge celebrates with a spectacular somersault after scoring the first Cobblers goal at Sixfields, in a 1-1 draw with Barnet, on October 15, 1994 (Pictures: Pete Norton)

It was October 15, 1994 when Town played their first match at what was then the Borough Council-owned community Sixfields Stadium.The first game saw John Barnwell's Cobblers team draw 1-1 with Barnet in the fourth tier of the English football.The move to the new ground had been delayed a few months, with Town supposed to play at Sixfields from the start of the season, but as it was they had to wait a couple of months.It was worth that wait though, with Town finally quitting their Abington Avenue home - which they had shared with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club since 1897 - following a 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town on October 11.Young striker Martin Aldridge scored the Cobblers' first goal at the new ground, a superb one it was too, and it was followed by an even more spectacular somersault celebration.The sell-out crowd that day would have felt strange in their new surroundings, having spent so long watching their team from the very few seats and shallow terraces of the dilapidated, but much loved, County Ground.Sixfields, which back then was right on the outskirts of town, was new, it was shiny, it was all-seater, and the question was: How long would it take to feel like home?Well, the answer to that question was, 'not very long'.The Cobblers players and supporters quickly took to their new surroundings, and now, 25 years later, it is quite hard to imagine the team being based anywhere else.Indeed, there are now generations of Cobblers supporters who know no other home, and I would think the majority of those who did use to go to the County Ground, will agree that the move has, on the whole, been a good one for the club.To mark the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the move to Upton, I have picked out 25 key matches played at the stadium over the years, from that opening day, to the current season.Many thanks must go to photographer Pete Norton, who has had the fortune - or is that misfortune? - of sitting on the sidelines and recording the action for virtually every game played at Sixfields in that time, and he has managed to dig out a snap from all of my 25 choices.There are obviously a lot of matches to choose from, so your own particular highlight or favourite may not be in here, and if that is the case then please contact me on Twitter by searching fo @TheRealCase or email me at [email protected] and let me know what your key or favourite game is, and why.For me, the match where everything came together on and off the pitch was the play-off semi-final second-leg against Bristol Rovers back in 1998.Trailing 3-1 from the first-leg at the Memorial Ground, Ian Atkins' Cobblers team were backed by a feverish crowd and destroyed the Gas in a pulsating match, winning 3-0 to book a place in a second successive Wembley final.I don't think the atmosphere on that night has ever been bettered, and I still don't think Rovers boss on the night, Ian Holloway, has fully recovered!!One thing's for sure, in the past 25 years there have been highs, there have also been plenty of lows (which I have tried to avoid here!), but Sixfields is now the Cobblers' home, sweet home.And hopefully it will be for many, many years to come.

Martin Aldridge celebrates with a spectacular somersault after scoring the first Cobblers goal at Sixfields, in a 1-1 draw with Barnet, on October 15, 1994 (Pictures: Pete Norton)

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A day not remembered for the game, but for a hole opening up in the south stand penalty area mid-game! The spot covered where the rugby posts would be, as Sixfields was built as a community stadium
Winning 1-0 from the first leg, goals for Ian Sampson, Ray Warburton and John Gayle sealed Town's first trip to Wembley. Cardiff's Jeff Eckhardt had been sent off for an elbow on 25 minutes
Trailing 3-1 from the first-leg, goals for Carl Heggs, Ian Clarkson (pictured) and Ray Warburton saw Town turn it round - arguably the best atmosphere the ground has ever seen
Chris Freestone's finest hour as his two goals saw off a Hammers team including Neil Ruddock, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, John Hartson and Trevor Sinclair. Harry Redknapp was the manager
Sean Parrish's goal (pictured) had Town in front, but two from Chris Armstrong and Sol Campbell strike saw Spurs win it. Tottenham team included future Town bosses Colin Calderwood and Justin Edinburgh, as well as David Ginola
A late Daryl Clare goal won a Friday night five-goal thriller. Former Town strike Neil Grayson (pictured) had made it 2-2 on 83 mins. The other Cobblers goals were scored by Dave Savage and Carlo Corazzin
There were five goals in the second half as Town drew with the Lions. Town's goals came from Marco Gabbiadini and two Dave Savage penalties. Millwall equalised on 87 minutes, and in their team was Sean Dyche
Jimmy Bullard fired Peterborough ahead in second minutebut Town won it thanks to strikes from Sam Parkin and Jamie Forrester - this is still the Cobblers' only win over Posh at Sixfields
Marco Gabbiadini rattled in a hat-trick and there was a goal for Armand One as Colchester were whacked. The season ended in relegation - Kevan Broadhurst sacked in January, before Terry Fenwick and Martin Wilkinson had a go
Not a classic or even a half decent game - but it was the day that a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Paul Scholes, played at Sixfields
Bury were leading 2-1 when Eric Sabin was sent off on 54 minutes. A brilliant fightback saw goals from Richards and Derek Asamoah win it and keep alive hopes of reaching the play-offs - which they did by beating Mansfield the following week
Not the greatest game, but the first Football League meeting between the Cobblers and Diamonds was settled in the 75th minute by a sublime Eric Sabin strike.
A rare Sixfields rout as ex-Cobbler Daryl Burgess scored an OG on 9 mins and was then sent off on 19. Julian Alsop (pictured) forced another OG and there were goals for Martin Smith (2) and Josh Low
Scott McGleish's 26th-minute goal sealed victory in the final home game of the season to secure promotion to league one. Colin Calderwood's final home game in charge before quitting to manage Nottingham Forest
A hard-fought win for Stuart Gray's improving side, with goals coming from Jordan Robertson (17), Kenny Deuchar (77, pictured) and Andy Kirk (85)
Town turned in stunning performance, one of the best by a Cobblers team at Sixfields, to beat champions-elect Swansea, managed by Roberto Martinez. On target were Poul Hubertz (14, pen 23), Alan Tate OG (20) and Danny Jackman (52)
Late drama as Yorkshire giants Leeds are beaten, having won 5-2 at Sixfields a week earlier in a first round FA Cup replay, Loan man Nicholas Bignall (pictured) scored the 87th-minute winner, with Liam Davis having netted earlier.
Ian Sampson's team destroyed Crewe thanks to goals from Shaun Harrad (11), Michael Jacobs (14), Dean Beckwith (44), Andy Holt (46), Abdul Osman (48, pictured) and Billy McKay (80). Sampson was sacked a month later.
Relegation-haunted Town were 1-0 after seven minutes. Scorer Ryan Williams was sent off on 20 minutes, and goals from John Marquis (29), Ivan Toney (33, pictured), and Matthias Doumbe (51) sealed the club's Football League status.
Goals from Nicky Adams (23) and Sam Hoskins (49) fired Chris Wilder's Town into a 2-0 lead, and although the visitors levelled late on, it was still party time as promotion was sealed!
Zander Diamond (4) and John Marquis (36) scored the goals as the Hatters were beaten, sparking the start of the league two title party, with silverware being raised at Sixfields for the first time...
Goals from Harry Beautyman (8), Alex Revell (13) and Matthew Taylor (28) saw Town race into a 3-0 lead, putting on a show for the Sky Sports cameras. They held off an MK fightback to seal the points
The hunt was on as Dean Austin's team kept alive their survival hopes (for another week at least...) with this battling win. Town's goals came through John-Joe O'Toole (42) and a Sonny Bradley own goal
Let's face it, it has been slim pickings at Sixfields for the past three years. This was a heartening and exciting performance, with goals scored by Ryan Watson (pen, 7), and Andy Williams (21, 41)