It’s FA Cup weekend

by Mystical Mike

Friday, November 7th, 2008

A load of old Cobblers

The F.A. Cup First Round proper kicks off this weekend and the Cobblers are thrown into the national spotlight again, this time on Setanta Sports against Leeds United. Stuart Gray’s side go into the game as massive underdogs despite being in the same league as our hosts but hopefully the magic of the cup will work on our side again. Already this season we’ve witnessed Carling Cup heroics at Bolton and Sunderland but now it’s time for the big one, the F.A. Cup.

We’ve all got our favourite cup memories and it’s the same for fans of every team across the country with fans in pubs across the country reminiscing about that time they went to Wembley and won the big one, were beaten in a cruel shootout or reached the first round proper for the first time in their club’s history.

Here’s some of my favourite cup moments from previous years and I’m sure you all have your own to add…


1996: Northampton 0-1 Watford (Round One)

This was our first ever game to be shown live on Sky and came in our centenary and promotion season of 1996/97. Watford, at the top of League One came to Sixfields as odds on favourites but we pushed them all the way, having a goal disallowed before Darren Bazeley struck the winner with twenty minutes to go.


1997: Basingstoke Town 0-0 Northampton (Second Round Replay)

The Cobblers had been held by the non league minnows in the first game at Sixfields and this was another Sky outing for the club as the cameras smelt an upset. The game will be remembered by all Cobblers fans present as the coldest game in history but despite this, Carl Heggs ripped off his shirt to celebrate after slotting home the winning penalty in a nail biting shootout. The win set up a third round game at then-Premier League side Leicester City who ran out 4-0 winners at Filbert Street.


2001: Canvey Island 1-0 Northampton (Round One)

Again we were live, this time on BBC, and this time the upset did happen…Canvey scored in the 48th minute and never looked back. We were awful that day and midfielder Roy Hunter had to play in goal for the final few minutes after Keith Welch was sent off. I remember my Dad screaming at the TV as stoppage time ticked away and Hunter spent time tucking his shirt in rather than taking a goal kick!


2004: Rotherham 1-2 Northampton (Third Round Replay)

On to happier memories at last and one of the greatest nights in our recent history at Millmoor. Rotherham were two league above us at this time and we had seen this tie as a good opportunity for a big upset. But after a 1-1 draw at Sixfields, we were given no hope ahead of the replay. But then the Fourth Round draw happened…the winner of the replay would meet Manchester United at home!

All eyes were on the replay now and nearly 3,000 Cobblers fans squeezed into the away end with some having to stand in the aisles and on the back of the stand as we packed into the ground. It was all going to the script as Rotherham took the lead but Richard Walker headed us back into the game before the break. Martin Smith then sent the roof off the away end with a free kick that curled into the corner of the net and we were on our way to the big one! The noise on the final whistle was incredible and one I’ll certainly never forget as we partied like we’d won the cup. “Bring on United” was the cry as we left Millmoor…


2004: Northampton 0-3 Manchester United (Round Four)

Fans of the big sides in the Premier League will never be able to comprehend the feeling that their teams create when they visit a lower league side in the cup. This whole day was such a magnificent high from start to finish and although we were soundly beaten I couldn’t stop beaming all day. The Cobblers were playing Manchester United! This was a day that we were truly in the national spotlight as a young lad named Cristiano Ronaldo did his tricks and Keiron Richardson came off the bench to really impress.

The game was always going to be compared to our game in the 60’s when George Best scored six at the old County Ground in United’s 8-2 win and it was never going to live up to those memories for those who had been there for it. But as a young un, it was my first taste of the big time and the queuing for six hours for a ticket was well worth it!


2005: Northampton 1-3 Southampton (Round Three)

Nowhere near as big a pull as the previous season’s Premier League visitors but a personal game for me as it was in the middle of my university course in Southampton. Quite a bizarre one travelling from the home of our opponents to watch the game back in Northampton! Kevin Phillips put Southampton in front before Lee Williamson gave me hope of a replay. But Peter Crouch and Jamie Redknapp made sure of Saint’s progression.


2006: Crystal Palace 4-1 Northampton ( Round Three)

We reached Round Three again and this time it was Championship opponents as we headed for Selhurst Park. A terrific turn out from the Cobblers fans saw us level an early goal for Palace but two Andy Johnson penalties turned the game in Palace’s favour. Another proud display though despite the score line and a great day out that only the cup can provide.
The following season we were hammered by Barnet 4-1 in a game that barely deserves a mention if it wasn’t for the absolute awfulness of the performance that day from the Cobblers.

So there’s just a few of my memories of the best cup competition in the world and we’ll all be hoping that tonight provides yet another famous moment. There is nothing like the F.A. Cup and teams from non league that began their journeys back in August now enter the First Round proper, their cup final in itself. So here’s to another season of upsets, drama and famous moments!

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  • Darren

    I can’t see the Cobblers getting anything at Leeds tonight, their away form is very poor this season, 1 win from 8 in the league but then it’s the FA Cup so you never know.

    What’s their best ever cup run?

  • Danny Brothers

    Last I heard we had 13 available players…so expect Stuart Gray to be on here later on! Our best cup run is Round 5 I believe…that’s when the first United game came about in 1970 when Best got six…

  • Darren

    if Barnsley can do it then why can’t the Cobblers? Cardiff, Milwall, Gillingham & Sheff United have all had good runs recently.

    Until last year the FA was dead, the same 4 teams had won it since 95. ANything is possible and lets hope so…

  • Dexy Longshot

    i’ll be looking forward to watching West Ham go out against a League one or Two side this year, we are Pony and have no money.

    We’ve had our glory for the next 20 years against Liverpool a few years back. My money is on Villa this season. MMW

  • Weasel Juice

    1-1 in with another shout! good result.

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