Football – England – League Two
Saturday 8th December 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Mid-table Northampton Town take on third placed Cheltenham Town at Sixfields Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the hosts bid to climb into the play-off pack for the first time this season by taking all three points on offer today.
Northampton suffered their first defeat in five matches a couple of weekends ago when they lost at Oxford United 1-2 but they have a chance to get back to winning ways when they host promotion-chasing Cheltenham which seems to be fraught with danger but I’ll explain my reasoning a little later on.
Northampton’s recent form has been solid though with wins over Port Vale 2-0, Accrington Stanley 4-2, Wycombe Wanderers 3-1 and Morecambe 3-0 along with a point taken at York City in a 1-1 draw. The Cobblers’ home record stands at a solid 6-2-2 19/8 and only Bradford City (6 goals conceded) have a better defensive record than them at home in the division.
Leading scorer for Northampton is Adebayo Akinfenwa (12 goals, 3 assists) among others like Alex Nicholls (7 goals) and creativity supplied by Chris Hackett (3 goals, 6 assists) and Ben Tozer (6 assists) and they are starting to gel together as an attacking unit.
Despite sitting in third place, Cheltenham Town appear to have dropped the ball in recent weeks away from home and whilst their home form continues to be solid with four wins on the trot at Whaddon Road, their form on the road has been suspect lately.
Cheltenham have in fact lost three of their last four away matches with defeats at Bradford City 1-3, Rotherham United 2-4 and Chesterfield 1-4 although they did hold League Two leaders Gillingham to a 0-0 draw at the beginning of November. But it’s just one point from the last twelve on offer for The Robins and their away form has cost them keeping pace or even setting the pace at the top of the division.
Cheltenham’s away record then stands at an indifferent 3-4-3 11/15 but there is a concern about the amount of goals being shipped in recent matches (11 in their last four away matches), and this will need to be addressed at Northampton. Leading scorer at the right end is Shaun Harrad (5 goals), Chris Zebroski (4 goals, 1 assist) along with Billy Jones (7 assists) supplying the ammunition.
There’s no dispute that Cheltenham’s home form has been strong, but there are chinks appearing in their armour away from home and Northampton could capitalise on Cheltenham’s recent slack defending. I’ll back the hosts with the round ball again as they could just sneak a win here – perhaps 1-0 to Northampton.
Pick: Northampton Town AH0 (Draw No Bet) @ 1.83 Pinnacle is worth taking