James Olayinka played his second game on loan with Northampton Town on Thursday, starting in their play-off semi-final first leg.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: James Olayinka of Northampton Town in action during the Sky Bet League Two Play Off Semi-final 1st Leg match between Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town at PTS Academy Stadium on June 18, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: James Olayinka of Northampton Town on June 18, 2020. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Arsenal loanee Olayinka joined Northampton Town in January, quickly making his debut against Scunthorpe United. Despite winning the Man-of-the-Match award, the day didn’t go as planned as he picked up an injury keeping him out for over a month.

Just as the midfielder returned to fitness, coronavirus called a halt to all English football. However, Northampton did remain in a play-off spot, so when the League Two regular season ended early, they qualified for the play-off semi-final.

Olayinka started the first leg on Thursday, completing the full 90 minutes against Cheltenham Town.

The Arsenal youth player had some very encouraging moments, including one first-half shot where he breezed past two opponents before bending one from range. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper made a good save.

Olayinka had another effort from distance in the second half, flying narrowly over the bar this time. He also created one good chance playing in his midfield role. It’s worth noting he did also drift out of the game a bit at times.

Unfortunately, the game didn’t go so well for the team overall. Northampton missed a penalty in the first half, then conceded twice to give themselves a mountain to climb in the second leg.

Cheltenham have one of the best defensive records in England and play at home in that upcoming fixture on Monday. It’ll take a huge turnaround now for Olayinka to get the chance to go to Wembley. Either way, it’s good to see him back playing again.