The Lions were involved in a quite remarkable game on Saturday, as their unbeaten away record went up in smoke in exceptional circumstances. In an afternoon that saw eight goals – two in four minutes, followed by another two in three and then another three in six – two first-half substitutions – one being a goalkeeper – and the woodwork struck, Peterborough United took the three points away with them, winning 5-3. This Tuesday, the road to Wembley continues, as Millwall host Northampton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Section Second Round. James Averill takes up ‘The View From The Opposition’…
Name: James Averill
First Northampton game: My first game was arguably one of the best in our history. It was our first time playing at Wembley and we beat Swansea City in the 1997 Division Three Play-Off Final. We won 1-0, thanks to a 93rd minute free-kick from John Frain, in front of 32,000 Cobblers fans. I can’t remember much of it as I was only five, but it’s still a great game to claim as your first.
Greatest moment following Northampton: Beating Liverpool on penalties at Anfield in the 2010 League Cup. We all went up expecting to get battered, despite the fact that Liverpool weren’t having the best of times under Roy Hodgson. It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon when the Reds scored after about ten minutes – but the next couple of hours were the most surreal I’ve seen. We comprehensively outplayed Liverpool at their own ground and were desperately unlucky not to win in either normal or extra time. But, we held our nerve in the shoot-out at the Kop end. It was incredible and will take some beating.
The JPT is more often than a not a competition that is disregarded by fans and clubs – how do a) Northampton see it and b) you personally see it?: I always see it as a slightly easier chance to reach a rare day out at Wembley. I suspect I’m in a minority of the Cobblers fan base that would like to see us take it a bit more seriously. At the same time, though, I appreciate it’s the last priority and is usually a good chance to see some promising younger players.
Who are Northampton’s ‘ones to watch’ on Tuesday night?: Chris Wilder has heavily rotated the squad for the cup games, but of course you have to start a certain number of players that played in the previous game. We have a few players who can cause problems up front – Nicky Adams plays behind the strikers, but has a superb cross on him, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored some good goals in the cup competitions. If Marc Richards starts up front, then he is always a goal threat.
Are there any Millwall players that you will be wary of?: Steve Morison is a familiar name for Cobblers fans. He started his career here after breaking through from our youth team. But, while he looked promising, the manager at the time (Colin Calderwood) didn’t seem to fancy him. Most people were disappointed when we let him go; of course, he has gone on to have a fantastic career packed with goals. Mark Beevers has always looked a threat when we have come up against him as well.
How do you see the game going?: We will most likely line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Ryan Clarke should play in goal, as he’s our cup keeper. We’re quite thin on the ground in terms of numbers, though, due to injuries, so I wouldn’t expect too many changes. We may opt for Sam Hoskins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top, though; both are promising young players.
I think it will be a tight game – most of our games this season have been decided by one goal either way. I think Millwall may just have a bit too much for us, though, especially with home advantage.
Score Prediction: Millwall 2-1 Northampton Town.
James’ Team Prediction: Clarke; Furlong, Brisley, Cresswell, Buchanan; Byrom, Watson; D’Ath, Hoskins, Adams; Calvert-Lewin.
Millwall v Northampton Town takes place at The Den on Tuesday, October 6th. Kick-off is at 7:45pm. The winner will find themselves in the Southern Section Quarter-Finals.