"We have been blessed with unbelievable support in 2016"
Good afternoon everyone and welcome back as we look to end 2016 on a high against Walsall. I think you will see a very different game to the one here on Boxing Day and I am sure Walsall will be just as keen as we are to end the first half of the season with a win.
We have been blessed with unbelievable support in 2016 and once again we had a full house here against Northampton. We would never take your support for granted and are truly appreciative of the way you came out in huge numbers one more time. It was just a shame that we couldn’t get you the result you deserved for your support.
Not just you: I thought the players deserved more for their efforts as well. It was a fairly even first half but then I felt that we turned things up a notch after the break and most of the game was in the opposition half of the pitch. Northampton are very physical but we matched that physicality and showed a lot of strength. We certainly don’t get outmuscled by teams if they want to try that approach. We won a lot of second balls and kept our shape very well but some days you just don’t get a break of the ball. There were an awful lot of crosses that flew across the box, there were a lot of shots blocked by some very brave defending and their keeper made some decent saves as well.
One of the most encouraging signs was that we stayed patient and didn’t try to rush things too much by just lumping the ball forward. Don’t get me wrong, some games you may need to be direct and get the ball in the box, but when a team is defending as deep as Northampton were you have to try and find other methods as well.
In the end we couldn’t convert territorial advantage into a goal but I thought we were at least going to get a point out of it. Instead we were hit by a scrappy last-minute goal where we lost a bit of concentration and it cost us a point; I don’t consider it three points dropped because we were level in the 94th minute.
If you look at the wider picture then you will remember games earlier in the year where we have nicked a win in the last five minutes. I would always back this group of players to go on and win plenty of games if we are level after 85 minutes.
It was frustrating but the good thing is that we get the chance to get out there immediately and put it right. Throughout 2016 we have shown character and determination and have generally been able to bounce back even stronger if we lose a game. It’s not going to be easy but we have home advantage and will do our best to get your New Year’s Eve party started that little bit early…
You can get the full programme online from www.matchdayfix.com/oufc