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DAN THE FAN: Oh brother, are we still in with a chance
3:30pm Thursday 3rd April 2014 in Football
ON Saturday the Town End witnessed a moment that will be remembered for many years to come.
It was a moment that all fans love to see, and a real show of pride, passion and unbridled emotion from two fans.
The difference was that those two fans were on the pitch, as Nathan Thompson rushed to celebrate with his brother and 90th-minute goalscorer Louis.
It was a poignant moment for everyone involved at the club, watching two players who have worked their way up the Town youth system and now find themselves playing regularly for the first team.
Since the youth set-up was established the club have produced a number of players that have gone on to make an impact at Town and elsewhere.
Sam Burton, Ernie Hunt, Mike Summerbee, John Trollope, Don Rogers, Jimmy Allan, Charlie Henry, Paul Rideout and Fitzroy Simpson are some of the most famous names that started their careers in Wiltshire.
Hopefully, Nathan and Louis Thompson can come close to that list of greats.
Somewhere among all the sentiment of the winning goal last weekend, a faint hope of a play-off place was rekindled.
After Milton Keynes and Wolves topped off our dreadful start to 2014 just a few weeks ago, many fans, myself included, had written off any chance of Town earning a top six place.
How have Mark Cooper’s side regained their form?
When Town were on their terrible run, some said the club was lucky not to be fighting for their lives, and the squad wasn’t good enough to compete.
Personally I’ve never understood that argument. At the start of the season when the dust settled on the squad, the club’s aim was the play-offs.
But because some players lost form or results weren’t going the club’s way in 2014 all of a sudden we shouldn’t be aiming high.
Ever since the 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Wolves the pressure has been taken off the players and the club.
The new focus was all about finishing the season on a high and building for next season.
That’s the message Cooper delivered to his players, and it’s worked.
The team aren’t quite back playing the football we saw earlier in the season, but they are grinding out results, and looking up for the fight.
With Peterborough having a game in hand over Town, it’s still out of their hands and a long shot – but stranger things have happened.
Now they need to keep the momentum going with victory at struggling Carlisle on Saturday.
Central to our turn in form has been the signing of Jack Stephens from Southampton, and Troy Archibald-Henville’s return to first team football.
Stephens is highly rated at St Mary’s and now the Town faithful know why. He’s good in the air, can tackle well, and can read the game.
As mentioned before, Troy has made a superb impact on the club and credit goes to Cooper for managing his injury problems well and resting him at the right time.
The guy has been immense.