Shall we go and see the game at Northampton? Cobblers! No, I really think we should. Thus we found ourselves in the car park of TGI Fridays just by the ground. A cold beer and a bit of grub before we get the QPHa result out of our system.
While walking into the pub there were announcements going off all around the ground telling people to stay where they were as there was an “incident” at the ground. This was found later to be a false alarm, although there may be some questions asked as to whether the incident was Mark Bosnich claiming to be an international goalkeeper. That would have called for the Drugs Squad to investigate. But more of that later.
It was actually my first visit to Sixfields and it is quite a nice little ground. All of these pre-season games are never more than a bit of a kick around from our point of view, although we did have something to prove after being so totally over-run by the not so super hoops. We kicked off with: Bosnich, Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Harley, Lampard, Morris, Jokanovic, LeSaux, Forsell, and Zola. The midfield had a slightly lopsided look with Lampard supposedly playing out right, but more often than not drifting into the centre. This left Mario rather a lot to do, and in fairness he did it well.
We kind of drifted through the majority of the first half. Zola looked really keen with a number of well hit efforts going just wide or over and a good stop from the keeper to tip over a chip that was all but in. Forsell also looked quite up for it and linked in well with Zola. Clearly establishing himself as a contender when the strikers’ shirts are handed out.
It was a little surprising when Northampton took the lead on the half-hour. The blame lies with Mr Bosnich. An awful flap at a cross on the edge of the box led to the hopeless Marco Gabbiadini netting. Bosnich proceeded to repeat this twice more. Luckily the ball did not end up in the onion bag on these occasions. In truth, these were the only times he had to touch the ball and even the quiet Northampton fans took to jeering him Marion (Melchiot) nodded in from a corner on 37 to give us the equaliser and the half drew fairly quietly to an end.
The second half was a totally different proposition with everyone, with the possible exception of Desailly who had a very odd game, deciding to step up a gear. Hasselbaink, Babayaro, Stanic and Gronkjaer were added to the fold and it was suddenly a very different game. Stanic (57), Jimmy Floyd (60, 68) – one a penalty from a Lampard dive – Lampard (72, 74) – hopefully the first of many goals in the blue shirt (well, it was actually white tonight) – before the Iceman cometh (on as a replacement for Zola) completed the rout after 79 minutes.
The youngster DeCesare came on for Dessy late on and seemed to equip himself quite well, and that was about it. A meaningless game, a meaningless result, but at least it washed the taste of Loftus Road away for a while.