Haven't We Met Before? Northampton Town
Saturday 28th November 1908
Northampton Town 1-1 Swindon Town
When Town travelled to play 3rd-placed Northampton few expected them to come away with anything. The Cobblers were unbeaten at home whilst Swindon had lost 5 of their 7 games on the road thus far.
From kick-off Northampton were in the ascendancy. Aided by a strong wind they pressed Town backwards but the defence held firm. Archie Ling was involved in fisting away a 'hot shot' and was injured in the process but back then men were men and he stood tall to defend the posts.
As usual Harold Fleming was working exceedingly hard upfield trying to engineer an opening for the visitors but centre-half David McCartney, the former Chelsea player, was in a menacing mood, patrolling and mopping up any threat posed. It was clear Fleming was a marked man and as such Swindon suffered as a result. Elsewhere, full-back E.L.Davies was a tower of strength and continually thwarted and checked bursts forward from Bob Jefferson.
Gradually, towards half-time, Swindon were doing most of the pressing without really threatening. The game was being played at a very fast pace and excitement amongst the 8000+ crowd was high, but as the whistle blew for the break there was no score.
The half-time respite allowed the home side to regroup and it was they who resumed the the offensive at the start of the second half. Two free-kicks saw the Town defence severely tested but Harry Kay, Jock Walker and Ling battled hard to keep the Cobblers at bay.
In an instant Swindon rallied their forces and countered. Fred Fenton, who was having a splendid game, put in some delightful crosses and Fleming came very close to beating goalkeeper G.Cooch as a result of one of them.
Midway through Northampton began to show their true form. Lessons and Lewis had Ling diving all over the ship to deny them. Not many could believe this game was still goalless.
The last 20 minutes were dramatic to say the least. Much to the chagrin of the partisan home support, Swindon were awarded a penalty when Jefferson was bundled over in the box. A long punt forward from Kay had sent Bob through on goal. The 2 full-backs converged on him simultaneously and there was a collision whereupon he hit the deck. Billy Tout, composed, slotted in to give Swindon the lead.
At this stage it appeared as though Town were on their way to a memorable victory. Alas, fate was to deliver a cruel late blow.
A freekick, awarded on the edge of the box, was delivered in by Bonthron and amongst a crowded goalmouth Lessons headed across to Walker who darted forward to slam home the equaliser past Ling four minutes from time.
In hindsight a point was seen as a good result. Northampton Town would go on to win the Southern League for the first time in their history whilst, more remarkably, Swindon finished as runners-up, primarily thanks to a formidable home record (18 wins out of 20).
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