Cobblers boss Chris Wilder admitted his side “got out of jail” after their dramatic 3-2 win over Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup this afternoon.
Heading into the final eight minutes, Northampton were on the receiving end of a huge FA Cup upset as goals from Jimmy Ball and Richard Bennett had the Evo-Stik side leading 2-0 which at that point was a fair reflection of the game.
A laboured and out-of-sorts Cobblers side seemed destined to miss out on the third round for a 10th successive season until four dramatic second half minutes.
First, substitute Sam Hoskins scrambled the ball home to resurrect hope before, less than 90 seconds later, Jason Taylor sent a looping header over visiting keeper Mason Springthorpe and into the bottom corner.
It was a breathless turnaround and the tie now looked certain to head to a replay, only for Town to go one better and snatch the winning goal with less than three minutes remaining as Dominic Cavlert-Lewin steered in Ricky Holmes’ cross.
The Cobblers then saw out the final few moments, with the help of a stupendous last-minute save from Adam Smith, to book their place in the next round.
And Wilder admitted afterwards that the victory was the most important thing as he gave great credit to Northwich.
He said: “We’re through and I’m delighted that we’re through, but I’ve got to say, first and foremost, huge respect for the opposition today.
“We knew this was going to be a difficult game because Northwich are certainly playing at a better level than they are; individually and collectively, plus with their spirit, manager and supporters.
“We’ve watched them three times now and we’ve looked at their league position so we knew it’d be a tough game and conditions weren’t great.
“We made two really basic errors and we were on the receiving end of a big shock at 2-0 down at 4.40pm but my players have never given up, never shown they’re beat and for them to come back as they did - they deserve a great amount of credit.
“We didn’t play well but this is cup football and the biggest positive to come out of today is that we’re in that bag for Monday’s draw.
“They had nothing to lose. It was a real difficult game for us and I think everybody in the ground recognised what a great performance they put up against us.
“We had a lot of the ball but our quality wasn’t very good. We changed it at half-time and we were better second half but then we gave away another poor goal.
“We changed the shape and went for it and my players never gave in.
“They gave themselves an opportunity to get back into the game and they did that and we’ve got out of jail today, but that’s cup football and that’s what can happen.”