NO CRISIS FOR THE COBBLERS
CHRIS Wilder described Northampton’s battling comeback from a goal down against Stevenage as a potentially ‘season-defining’ triumph.
After a week where the Cobblers’ future was plunged into further doubt – they have been issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs over unpaid debts and also failed to repay a £10m council loan – Wilder’s men gave another performance on the pitch to mask the tribulation going on off it.
Supersub Alfie Potter was the hero when he slid in to score the winner and his first of the season, after only being on the pitch for three minutes.
Wilder was delighted with his side’s performance and believes it could go on to define the rest of their season.
“This result was about being a proper footballer, and a team with proper spirit,” he said. “It is moments like these that define what you are as a group of players, as a club and where you finish at the end of the season.
“When the sun is shining and everyone is at the top of their game then it’s an easy game. We showed what we are about in the second half and the supporters were once again behind us the whole way.
“We deserved the result against dangerous opponents who, at half-time, were the better team. But we worked hard to get back in the game and deserved the result.
“This is football. You’re not always at your best. It’s how you react to the little dips that you have and we came back from behind again today. It shows the character that we have in this side.”
Stevenage’s Sixfields hoodoo still lives on though, as they have now lost on their last four visits to Northampton.
In the opening 20 minutes Northampton piled on the pressure with eight corners and John-Joe O’Toole nearly put The Cobblers ahead.
Stand-in skipper Steven Schumacher broke the deadlock for Stevenage after 24 minutes with their first goal at Sixfields in five visits; his deflected volley clipping the post to leave Adam Smith stranded in the Northampton goal.
Chris Whelpdale came close to doubling the visitors’ lead after 37 minutes when he slid in to connect with Jerome Okimo’s cross but he was unable to poke home.
Four minutes into the second half and Dominic Calvert-Lewin levelled for the Cobblers with his third in two games, applying a deft touch to Sam Hoskins’ shot.
Substitute Alfie Potter made an immediate impact, giving Northampton the lead on 63 minutes after Jesse Joronen parried Calvert-Lewin’s close range effort.
“I thought we played fairly well, we were in control for long parts of the game so to come away with nothing it’s very disappointing,” said Stevenage manager Teddy Sheringham. “We deservedly went a goal up in the first half, but to let another team in when you are in control of the game, it’s very disappointing to come away with nothing. We didn’t have enough chances and didn’t really create enough in the second half.”
ON THE UP: Chris Whelpdale leaps to evade a Stevenage challenge Inset, the Cobblers celebrate their opening goal