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Three Years On

12 September 2012

It is nearly three years since one of the games which helped define Fleetwood Town’s emergence on a national stage.

By David Mitchell

It is nearly three years since one of the games which helped define Fleetwood Town’s emergence on a national stage. 

On 7th November in front of a crowd of 3077, the Blue Square North side gave their League Two opponents Northampton Town an FA Cup first Round fright, before going down 2-1.  Sean Clancy’s 41st minute goal was highlighted on BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ at a time when TV action was a rarity rather than routine as it is today! Then Northampton manager Ian Sampson’s post-match comments were prophetic: ‘I expect them to be challenging for promotion to the Conference this year and they gave us a tough game.’ For current Town skipper, Steve McNulty, the game marked his thirteenth in a Town shirt, following his pre-season move from Barrow: ‘Yes, I was in my first year at the club.  We had enough chances to win the game and it’s a mark of how far we’ve come that we are about to meet them on a level playing field.’ Full-back, Shaun Beeley, remembered it as a ‘big occasion’ and Ade Akinfenwa playing up front for Northampton.  The much-travelled striker left Sixfields for Gillingham in 2010 but has since returned. Another to leave and return is Luke Gutteridge, the midfielder who struck twice to break Cod Army hearts.   Gutteridge spent two years at Aldershot before re-joining the Cobblers this year. Town’s long-serving players, Nathan Pond and Jamie Milligan, were others to start while Jamie McGuire was on the bench.  There is a general feeling from those who remembered the day that Micky Mellon’s side deserved at least a draw.  This weekend there is a chance to put that right but, in truth, the Northampton squad which travels to Highbury on Saturday will bear little resemblance to that of three years ago.  Defender John Johnson is the only other survivor from 7th November 2009, alongside Afinkenwa and Gutteridge.

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