Jefferson Lake’s Morecambe v Cobblers view and player ratings: Carlisle starting to shine

IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE - Clarke Carlisle (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE - Clarke Carlisle (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
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While Kelvin Langmead collected the headlines, the plaudits and the supporters’ love at Morecambe on Tuesday night, it was his regular central-defensive partner who was the real star of the show.

Clarke Carlisle was strongly criticised a few weeks ago after turning it a couple of performances that must have had the 33-year-old wishing he’d traded his shinpads for the studio after all.

Even Aidy Boothroyd admitted the defender ‘had his boots on the wrong feet’ during an error-strewn display against Plymouth, although the team did keep a clean sheet in that game.

Since those dark days, though, Carlisle has been a star, turning in the kind of ‘leader of men’ showings he did during his first spell at the club.

At Morecambe he was imperious, winning header after header in a domineering performance for which he deserved far more than to be on the side of a team that only drew the match.

It helped that the team played with a five-man defence, because Kelvin Langmead to his right and Lee Collins to his left afforded Carlisle with the security to do what he does best - getting in front of the striker and intercepting the first ball.

It will be interesting to see if Aidy Boothroyd stays with the 5-4-1 system at Wycombe because although the team hit the woodwork three times using that formation, they truly bombarded Morecambe and built up a real head of steam once it was changed.

Clive Platt and Adebayo Akinfenwa both added - as you might expect - raw power to the forward line and under it, Morecambe eventually crumbled.

Neither is particularly suited to playing the lone role filled by Roy O’Donovan at the Globe Arena, but it would be harsh to replace either of the wingers with the Irishman at Adams Park.

Chris Hackett showed signs of a return to his old self and completed 90 minutes, suggesting the worst of his calf injury is now firmly behind him.

And Ishmel Demontagnac completed perhaps his best all-round performance for the club - his last-ditch tackle at 1-0 denied Morecambe a vital second goal and his application of the basics represented a valuable contribution to the team.

Anything less than a draw would have been a robbery considering the chances Northampton carved out and the number of times they were denied by the width of a post.

What ensured they picked up a point was not any specific tactic or individual performance but a collective will to take something from the game.

Resilience was the key here.

It’s been in short supply away from home all season and went missing at Exeter City 10 days ago.

But it was back on Tuesday night in the same way it was at Southend and Wimbledon and it’s that resilience that could yet prove the difference between the top three and the top seven.

Player ratings


Made a number of excellent saves and yet again claimed every cross with the exception of one ...7


Competed with the typical Johnson aggression and was unfortunate to pick up a booking for what looked like a straightforward header ...7


The captain continues to be fantastic for the Cobblers and to score eight goals in a season is a fine achievement for a centre-back ...7


Won everything at the back and flourished in the five-man defence. Deserved to be on the winning side ...8


Slotted in nicely on the left of the central defensive three before his tactical sacrifice on the hour mark ...7


Got forward more than Johnson on the other side and has all the attributes for an effective wing-back ...7


A better display than his recent road performances and seems to have recovered from the worst of the calf injury ...7


A few stray passes and got caught on the wrong side of the ball once or twice but unlucky not to score ...6


Competed for everything and stuck to his task manfully in the middle of the park ...6


Sprint back to his own box and perfectly-timed sliding challenge was a key moment in the game and vital to the victory ...7


Got through a lot of work for very little individual benefit - it is hard to see which player would fill this position more effectively ...6


ADEBAYO AKINFENWA (for Collins 64)

Brought some serious ballast to the side and gave them some momentum in the final stages ...7

CLIVE PLATT (for Johnson 78)

His physical presence provided plenty of problems for the home side in the final quarter of an hour ...7

Not used: Snedker, Guttridge, Robinson, Hornby, Dias