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In opposition: Northampton Town v Oxford United

20 March 2013

Northampton Town welcome near-neighbours Oxford United to Sixfields Stadium on Saturday in what is likely to be an exciting npower League 2 encounter.

The Cobblers sit sixth in the table and will hope to enhance their promotion credentials with a win, while the U's are 10th, just six points adrift of the Play-Off places. Here, we preview the match with the help of a supporter from each club.


Name: Ben Trasler.

Club: Northampton Town.

Number of years as a supporter: 18 years. I've been going since I was six years old.

Favourite moment as a fan: It has to be either our League Cup victory at Anfield in September 2010 or our whole promotion season under Colin Calderwood in 2005/06.

How many games a season do you attend? All of our home games and the vast majority of our away ones, too. I usually only miss six or seven games over the course of a season.

Where do you sit? The West Stand (the main stand at Sixfields), close to the away supporters.

Name: Dennis Day.

Club: Oxford United.

Number of years as a supporter: 41.

Favourite moment as a fan:  Well there has been quite a few in all that time - two Wembley wins, the Milk Cup and Conference Play-Off final.

The latter was a great personal day out spent with my father and three sons. However, last season's home fixture with Swindon Town equalled both for me as, amazingly, it was my first Swindon home game. They arrived at our place on the back of 10 straight wins and our form was indifferent, to say the least. After 10 minutes, where the opposition had looked dangerous in attack, our main striker James Constable, who had been a transfer target for Swindon, was shown a straight red card for what looked like a pretty tame tangle with a defender.

We all feared the inevitable but no, we had a 15-minute purple patch where we carved their defence open twice and scored two great goals through Asa Hall and Oli Johnson, then parked the bus for the second half. The stadium was a sell-out, the Oxford fans were jumping for the whole game. The atmosphere was electric and we managed to hold out for a 2-0 win. The rest of the day evaporated into an alcohol-fuelled blur.

How many games a season do you attend? It's rare that I miss a home game and I usually get to at least six away games per season.

Where do you sit? South Stand Upper.



What happened in your last match?

BT: Our last game at Wycombe Wanderers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch but last week we drew 1-1 at Morecambe. By most accounts, we were the better side but only secured a point with super Kelvin Langmead scoring an equaliser with a diving header late in the game.

DD: A 1-0 home defeat to Chesterfield. The only thing that is consistent about Oxford this season is their ability to be completely inconsistent, especially at home. Another game where we had plenty of chances in the first half but couldn't score and fizzled out in the second half, finishing the game with a whimper. Very disappointing.

Why is this game important?

BT: It's the business end of the season and we're right up there in the mix for automatic promotion. Dropping points at home at this stage would be a huge blow for our promotion hopes and as we are playing catch up already it would make things extremely hard for us.

DD: A defeat against the Cobblers would effectively end any chance of the Play-Offs for us this season.

How do you see this game going?

BT: We've won 11 of our last 12 home matches including the last eight on the bounce. However, games against Oxford are the closest thing we have to a local derby in this division and they are usually lively affairs with a good atmosphere, so I can't see it being as comfortable for us this weekend.

DD: Difficult to call, we have been good away from home but Northampton have an enviable home record. If we can find the net then Northampton could be in trouble, but finishing has been our achilles heel this year.

Who should we keep our eye on?

BT: Chris Hackett. Our flying right winger is Oxford-born and started his career at the U's so I'm sure he'll be up for it this weekend.

DD: Alfie Potter - a top player in this division on his day. Also Jake Wright a solid defender at this level.

Any memories of previous encounters?

BT: We scored a 90th-minute winner in this game at a packed Sixfields last season which pretty much secured our Football League status. That was pretty special.

DD: The last one. It was good to see Chris Hackett back at Oxford, although it was a shame he was playing for the opposition. He was involved in everything that was good about the Northampton performance, although we did put in a good showing, taking the three points with a 2-1 win.

Score prediction?

BT: I'll say 2-1 to us with Hackett and Roy O'Donovan as the goalscorers.

DD: 1-0 Oxford.

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