2022 Year In Review

Northampton Town team photo for the 2022/23 season

No year is ever plain sailing following the Cobblers and 2022 was no exception. From the highs of that Leyton Orient win in April to the lows of missing out on promotion through goal difference the following month, 2022 has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions. 

So, let’s have look back, month by month, at 2022 through the eyes of a Cobbler.

January - P:5 W:1 D:2 L:2

January certainly wasn’t the start to the year the Cobblers wanted, a 5-2 defeat to Swindon on New Year’s Day, who funnily enough are our final opponents of 2022. However, any Cobbler travelling to the County Ground after a few too many drinks the night before, might not have been expecting three points. Our opening game of the year was Town’s first since December 11, 2021, due to a Covid outbreak within the squad.

Jon Brady’s side struggled to recover from the setback and followed the Swindon defeat up with a 1-0 loss to Crawley at Sixfields. Draws with Forest Green and Sutton were welcome considering their league positions and January ended with a 1-0 over Salford on home soil. 

Town loaned in Idris Kanu and Beryly Lubala who never really made an impact. Tyler Magloire and Josh Eppiah were loaned in too and both have shown flashes of quality, but injuries have influenced their Cobblers careers to date.

Kelvin Thomas also came on the podcast to speak about the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance. 

February - P:8 W:3 D:2 L:2

Louis Appere also joined the Cobblers in January and got off the mark on his debut. His goal was the difference in our 1-0 win over Walsall on the first Saturday of February. We’ll ignore the 1-0 loss to Barrow in our opening game of the month.

Fraser Horsfall earned us a 1-0 win over Newport with a goal eight minutes from time. That was followed by a draw with Port Vale, a comfortable win over Colchester and a draw and defeat with Scunthorpe and Rochdale respectively to end the month. 

Jon Brady brought in young centre back Ryan Nolan who was supposedly ‘one for the future.’ Nolan left the Cobblers in the summer and now plays for Raith Rovers.

March - P:6 W:3 D:0 L:3

March will be remembered by one game, and one game only, the clubs 125th anniversary game against Tranmere on Saturday 5 March 2022.

The Cobblers ran out 3-2 winners in a game which perfectly encapsulated the clubs 125-year history. The Cobblers were 3-0 up and cruising in their special anniversary kit after 66 minutes following Mitch Pinnock’s superb goal. However, goals from Josh McPake and Kane Hemmings for Rovers made it a nervy ending for the Cobblers but they held on for a win to mark a special occasion. 

IACTM Fan Club member Matthew Crane said: “I won’t forger Fraser’s bullet header or Pinnock’s crafty finish in a hurry!”

Elsewhere in March, Horsfall decided to handle the ball against Carlisle to throw away a point late on. Aaron McGowan and Pinnock scored a cracker each in a 2-1 over Stevenage. Joey Barton described us as a ‘glorified rugby team,’ and a 2-0 win over Hartlepool rounded off the month.

April - P:6 W:3 D:2 L:1

April was a month of two halves. A poor start with a 1-0 defeat at Mansfield and a disappointing 0-0 against Bradford. 

Comfortable wins against Oldham and Harrogate got the second half of the month rolling, and then, that day at Orient.

Saturday 24 April 2022: Leyton Orient 2-4 Northampton Town. 

The day we started to believe.

This one had it all, some excellent football, superb goals and a red card for the hosts. This wasn’t a Cobblers like performance but that was the day, with three games to go, we were surely heading for League One. The togetherness between the players and the fans was evident, the scenes in the away end were jubilant, this was the beginning of the promotion party wasn’t it? 

A draw against Exeter at the end of April saw the Grecians promoted and surely a win against Barrow on the final day would secure promotion for Town.

A series of podcasts looking back at Wembley 97 launched in April which included chats with Ian Clarkson, John Frain and Andy Woodman.

The podcast hosted a reunion event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1997 Play Off final win. The players and podcasters grabbed a picture together by the bar

May - P:3 W:1 D:0 L:2

Sorry to bring it up, but it can’t be ignored. Saturday 7 May 2022, Barrow 1-3 Northampton Town. A brace from Sam Hoskins and one from Horsfall had the Cobblers in League One at half time, the party in the away end had begun. 

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Bristol Rovers 7-0 Scunthorpe United, Cobblers had to settle for the play-offs.

There won’t have been many Cobblers fans who believed promotion was still possible through the play-offs, and they were right. 

The Cobblers were 2-0 down at Mansfield in the first leg before a second half goal from Ali Koiki restored some hope. However, Mansfield came to Sixfields in the second leg and won the tie 3-1 on aggregate meaning the Cobblers ended the 2021-22 season in May with nothing to show for their efforts and for the staff, players and fans the heartbreak of Barrow was still so raw.

“The whole Barrow/last day drama/play-off few weeks were about as low as you could get,” Fan Club member Malcolm Butler said.

June

At the start of June, there was one question on everyone’s lips, ‘would Fraser Horsfall, Liam Roberts and Shaun McWilliams sign new deals?’

Midfielder Paul Lewis completed a move to Tranmere at the start of the month and Ben Fox was our first summer signing on June 17. Ryan Haynes signed three days later and excitement started to build ahead of the new season when Danny Hylton put pen to paper on June 21.

The question about Liam Roberts and Shaun McWilliams futures were answered on the same day as Roberts made the move to Middlesbrough and McWilliams signed a new deal. Lee Burge signed the following day and the League Two fixtures for 2022-23 were announced.

The squad returned for pre-season on June 23 and Fraser Horsfall’s move to Stockport was confirmed at the end of the month.

During the off season ‘Cobblers Chats’ were released where the podcast team spoke to fan Alex Gandler, BBC Radio Northampton commentator Tim Oglethorpe and Cobblers legend Terry Angus.

July - P:8 W:3 D:2 L:3

Pre-season kicked off with a win over Nottingham Forest’s U23’s and included a trip to Scotland where the Cobblers faced St Mirren and Dundee United. Friendlies against West Brom, Luton, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Cheltenham rounded off pre-season. 

Akin Odimayo, Sam Sherring, Harvey Lintott, Marc Leonard and Tyler Magloire all completed their moves to Sixfields in July and the 2022-23 season kicked off with a ding-dong, a 3-2 win over Colchester.

IACTM Fan Club Member Ashcobb said: “Many highs. Quality of signings and coaching improvement. Particularly like the recruitment of young talent like Sherring and Magloire.”

Ryan Haynes celebrates scoring the winner in front of the North Stand against Colchester on the opening day of the 2022/23 season.

August - P:7 W:2 D:2 L:3

When we look back at the 2022-23 season, not much attention will be paid to August. 

The month began with a decent 1-1 draw at Grimsby. A good point considering that game was the Mariners first game back in the EFL.

Town’s cup campaigns got off to a bad start, bowing out of the Carabao Cup against Wycombe and a 6-0 defeat to Ipswich in the Papa Johns Trophy.

The 3-2 win over Crawley on August 16 has to be a highlight. Two Hoskins goals on his 300th Cobblers appearance had Brady’s side 2-1 up at the break before James Balagizi got Crawley level. Kieron Bowie popped up with a stoppage time winner to send the 355 travelling Cobblers fans wild.

August also saw the launch of ‘Team Talk’ a monthly IACTM podcast episode dedicated to NTFC Women.

September - P:5 W:4 D:0 L:1

September was a very good month for our beloved Cobblers. Town went unbeaten in the league and their only defeat of the month was against Cambridge in the Papa Johns Trophy.  September included comfortable wins against Barrow, AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale before a win against Fraser Horsfall’s Stockport to end the month. 

The club celebrated their 125th birthday at their anniversary dinner in and the podcast also hosted the NTFC Fans Forum 2022

October - P:8 W:2 D:3 L:3

It’s safe to say September’s magnificent form wasn’t followed up in October. 

The Cobblers dug deep to come from behind and win at Swindon, but illness and injury problems played a part in back to back defeats to Walsall and Salford. Town were also eliminated from the Papa Johns Trophy, sigh.

October’s clash with Orient wasn’t quite as eventful as the 4-2 win in April, but the Town did well to earn a draw against the leaders having played a large portion of the game with ten men following the controversial red card shown to Ben Fox.

The Cobblers picked up a 3-2 win in an entertaining clash with Stevenage but followed that up by throwing away a two-goal lead against Sutton the following Tuesday. 

There was also a big moment for the podcast in October as episode 200 was released!

November - P:3 W:2 D:0 L:1

Two league wins out of two in the penultimate month of the year for the Cobblers, but they were knocked out of the FA Cup in disappointing fashion by National League Chesterfield.

An easy 2-0 win over Gillingham turned our attention back to the league and Town ended the month with a fantastic 3-1 win at Bradford. Sam Sherring’s 59th minute goal was one of the best team goals Brady’s side have scored this season and put the cherry on top of the cake for the 539 Cobblers fans who made the trip to West Yorkshire.

Fan Club member Matthew Crane said: “The football has been some of the best I’ve seen, Bradford, Stockport, Barrow and Stevenage were great to watch.”

December - P4 W:1 D:2 L:1

December began with an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Tranmere at Sixfields, but the Cobblers fought back well to beat Carlisle 2-1 in our final game before Christmas.

The Cobblers were dominant at Field Mill against Mansfield on Boxing Day and after going 1-0 down with less than ten minutes to go Samuel Tobias Hoskins smashed home Pinnock’s cross to earn a 1-1 draw. 

“Just realised we’re ending the year against Swindon having started it with that 5-2,” Danny Brothers said.

Danny was right, 2022 ended as it started, defeat to Swindon.

Overall, it has been a good year on and off the pitch for the Cobblers. So much has happened on the pitch and the NTFC Community Trust were recognised for their hard work winning the More Than Football Award and the Cobblers also won Planet League.

A special mention to the NTFC Women and Academy teams who have continued to improve and impress throughout 2022. 

Let’s hope this time next year we’re looking back on a promotion in May and the Cobblers start to the season in League One.

Yes, 2022 was great, but 2023 has the potential to be so much better.

Happy New Year, Cobblers fans!

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