We continue our review of our title-winning Conference Premier campaign by taking a look back at February, which saw us play seven league matches.
Our side began the month with a flourish as James Jennings, who joined us from Cambridge United on transfer deadline day, made his debut in a rip-roaring 5-0 win over Dartford.
The set-piece specialist posed a constant threat against the Darts, and was again at the heart of the action when we cruised to an incredible 8-1 victory over Barrow the following week.
Dave Bayliss’ Bluebirds were ripped apart from the outset as Matt Green netted a hat-trick, Lee Stevenson struck a brace and Junior Daniel, Adam Murray and Anthony Howell also scored.
Boss Paul Cox was rewarded with an Aston Martin by chairman John Radford, as we equalled the joint-biggest winning margin on home soil in our history.
Three days later, nevertheless, Newport County inflicted a 2-0 defeat on us in a midweek clash at a swamp-like Rodney Parade, on our first visit to the Exiles’ new home.
But we bounced back when Cambridge United visited One Call Stadium the following weekend; as Junior Daniel’s stunning late effort ensured us of a 3-1 success.
That win was followed by three consecutive away victories, which propelled us into the Play-Off mix.
Louis Briscoe’s solitary effort settled a tight contest at Hyde, before Lindon Meikle’s last-minute winner earned us a 3-2 victory in Luton Town’s hostile Kenilworth Road cauldron.
Our win in Bedfordshire put paid to the Hatters’ lingering Play-Off hopes, and only three days later we moved into the Play-Off zone for the first time in the campaign.
It was a case of déjà vu in terms of late drama, as Matt Green pounced in stoppage-time to sink Lincoln City and seal maximum points for our quickly-accelerating side.
At the end of the month, we had risen to fourth position and boasted a game in-hand on Wrexham, who were two points better off than Kidderminster Harriers at the summit.
Also in February:
- Matt Rhead and Ben Hutchinson netted two goals apiece in a friendly win at Doncaster.
- Winger Lindon Meikle won his fourth England C cap in a 1-0 defeat to Turkey.
- Safety Advisory Group (SAG) raised our overall capacity to 8,186.
- Plans were announced that we would re-form our Centre of Excellence this summer.