On The Case... Jeremy Casey takes a look back at the sporting weekend

The Cobblers cruised to victory in the FA Cup on Sunday
The Cobblers cruised to victory in the FA Cup on Sunday

It was great to see the Cobblers progress so comfortably into the second round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Keith Curle's men swept aside a battling Chippenham Town team, coasting to a 3-0 win.

Saracens have rightly been hit hard for breaking the rules

Saracens have rightly been hit hard for breaking the rules

Anybody who has followed the Cobblers for any length of time knows how tricky these trips to non-League clubs can be.

You only have to utter the words 'Stourbridge' or 'Canvey Island' to send a little shiver down the spine, but it turns out there was no need for any anxiety at Hardenhuish Park.

Town were simply too strong for their hosts and had the match all wrapped up by half-time thanks to a couple of goals from Vadaine Oliver, his first strikes for the club, and one from Harry Smith.

On the face of it, a 3-0 win against a side two divisions below them should be nothing to shout home about, but I think it's another example of how this Curle team is really beginning to gel.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League

Kevin Kilbane and Leon Osman were certainly impressed by what they saw as they sat watching the game in the BBC Final Score studio.

Kilbane stressed that not only were the Cobblers very professional in everything they did, but that they were also 'playing some nice football, and are really good to watch'.

We all know these fixtures can be banana skins (just ask Leyton Orient and Southend United) but it is a sign of the maturity and composure of this Town team that they were able to deal with what looked a tricky fixture with the minimum of fuss.

And the most encouraging thing is that there is every indication that there is still a lot more to come.

Ryan Watson and Shaun McWilliams are currently sidelined and when they return they will definitely strengthen what is already a powerful looking midfield unit, and Joe Martin is another who will enhance the playing pool when he is fit.

On top of that, several players are also still yet to really show their best form.

They have played well already this season, but I reckon there is still more to come from the likes of Nicky Adams, Harry Smith, Chris Lines and Matty Warburton, while now Oliver has got those first Town goals under his belt, his confidence will be on a high.

There has been plenty of moans and groans from plenty of supporters to date this season, and earlier in the campaign there probably was reason to be concerned.

But Curle has never wavered in his belief that his team will come good, and at the moment it seems as though that belief is justified.

There are obviously bigger tests on the horizon, starting with this Saturday's clash with high-flying Crewe Alexandra.

A win over David Artell's side would be a huge statement of intent from the Cobblers.

If they could grab the victory, then it would see them move to within just two points of the fourth-placed Alex, so can they achieve that? Of course they can.

The fact they have suffered just one defeat in their past seven matches, winning five of those, shows they are a team in form.

Whatever the result on Saturday won't of course define the season for the Cobblers, but a win will certainly announce their arrival as genuine promotion contenders.


The Chron is currently running a pole for Cobblers supporters to vote for their team of the past decade.

I thought I would share with you the team I selected, so here goes...

Goalkeeper - Adam Smith; Right-back: Brendan Moloney; Left-back: David Buchanan; Central defenders: Kelvin Langmead and Zander Diamond: Right winger: Ricky Holmes; Central midfielders: John-Joe O'Toole and Luke Guttridge; Left-winger: Michael Jacobs; Strikers: Marc Richards and Adebayo Akinfenwa.

That's a pretty handy team I reckon, but there's still time for you to have your say.

Just go to www.northamptonchron.co.uk/sport/football/team-of-the-decade-vote-for-your-best-cobblers-xi-from-the-last-10-years-1-9131862 and get selecting!



Saints hit their first bump in the road on Saturday as they lost to bottom-of-the-table Bath at a soggy Recreation Ground.

It will be a massive frustration to Chris Boyd that his team threw away a game they should have won against 14 men, but a look at the Gallagher Premiership table this morning will ensure there is still every reason to be satisfied with the start to the season.

With four matches played, Saints are sitting second in the table, level on points with new leaders Bristol, and that is a scenario they definitely would have taken before the campaign started.


The punishment dished out to Saracens sent shockwaves through the sporting world last week.

The Barnet-based side were docked an eye-watering 35 points and also fined more than £5 million for breaking the salary cap regulations that exist in Premiership rugby for the past three years.

Saracens are appealing against the punishment, but I for one hope they fail in that appeal.

Rumours have been rife for years that Saracens were somehow getting around the rules, and Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care was particularly outspoken following the announcement of the verdict.

He said: "I hopefully speak for every other player in the Premiership, I know for everyone at Harlequins, that everyone kind of knows this has been going on for years and no-one's ever been able to say anything about it.

"In a one-on-one game we know we can challenge them, we know we can beat them on our day, but when you've got that much class, that much international experience, throughout the whole season you know in the long run you're going up against a team that, let's face it, have been cheating."

He added that he felt the current Premiership champions should be relegated rather than docked points, and also stripped of the domestic trophies they have won in the past three seasons.

Cheats should never prosper, but it seems to be the case that Saracens prospered far too much, and I welcome the fact Premiership Rugby Limited have come down on them so hard.


There the usual VAR headlines from the Premier League weekend, but we won't go down that route again this week.

One of the games to be hit with controversry was of course Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City, a result which many feel has gone a long way to sealing a first Premier League title for the Reds.

I don't see it that way though, and would never bet against Manchester City closing that gap over the six months.

And we also can't write off the growing challenges from Leicester City and Chelsea, who almost third of the way through the season are above City in the table on merit - an achievement in itself

Being eight clear points is a big advantage, but as Liverpool edge closer to that elusive first English title since 1990, the pressure is going to grow and grow because the Merseysiders are so desperate to clinch that crown.

That pressure could weigh heavily on Jurgen Klopp and his team.

They are obviously the favourites to win it, and it is all in their own hands, but I don't think this title race is over yet.