Town’s encouraging upturn in results and performances continued to gather pace this week as despite suffering a midweek defeat to Sunderland there were plenty of positives to take from the Stadium of Light.
Before Town travelled north, they picked up a valuable three points at the County Ground against fellow relegation strugglers Northampton Town.
After a poor first half from Town which saw the visitors taking the lead and Scott Twine serving up another superb free-kick Town came to life in the second as they took their chance with Brett Pitman nodding home Jordan Garrick’s cross to take Town to three games unbeaten for the first time in a year.
With on-loan goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott suffering an injury in the warm-up 19-year-old Archie Matthews had to step up against the Cobblers and thankfully he did a great job on his professional debut.
The whole goalkeeping situation this season has been a complete mess as the club has now used six goalkeepers in one season for the first time in its history.
With Wollacott still carrying a knock Town needed to make another emergency loan signing in Connal Trueman, who arrives from Birmingham City for at least this week.
The fact we’ve used six keepers this season is a far cry from last year as Town unearthed a gem in Steven Benda as he turned out to be one of the players of the season.
After getting fortunate with Benda and his ability to step up to first-team football with ease we sadly had no such luck with Matej Kovar and that’s ultimately been our downfall between the sticks, as despite performing well in some games Kovar wasn’t ready for the step up.
It’s difficult to know if the club sticks with Trueman or goes back to Bristol City for Wollacott.
If he’s fully fit, I think the club will go back for Jojo after he showed so much promise in his opening games, and possibly the fact his Bristol City contract ends this June, if City has no plans for the 24-year-old keeper he could be on Town’s radar for a permanent transfer in the summer.
Another player whose contract ends this summer came inches away from earning a point on Tuesday evening as Scott Twine’s free-kick rattled off the crossbar with seconds remaining.
It’s strange to come away from any defeat talking about the positives but in the big picture of the season, Tuesday night was a step in the right direction as only a few weeks ago I believe we lose this game by 3-4 goals and put in another dreadful performance.
Thankfully it seems Scott Twine’s 94th-minute winner over Crewe has changed something inside this team as the three performances since have been a big step up on the dross on show against Shrewsbury and Portsmouth the previous weeks.
Good performances alone won’t keep us in League One and points do need to go alongside, but if we keep a settled side, the talent in this squad is enough to pick up the points needed to avoid dropping into the bottom four.
This small revival in form on the pitch comes at just the right time as we visit Accrington Stanley this coming Saturday, who are winless in their last four games, and the following Tuesday we host O*ford at SN1.
It’s hard to remember such an important derby at the County Ground with Town fighting for every point at the wrong end of the table and the quiet neighbours trying to make the playoffs.
Hopefully, we see a Town side full of attacking intent, and not sitting back, as if a positive approach is taken this side could be the first in 20 years to earn a memorable double over the former non-league side.