Finally, at long, long last, the Cobblers have a goal. And not just one, two. But that’s not even the most surprising aspect of it all: one of those goals was scored by David Buchanan.
And yet, their dramatic and action-packed 2-2 draw away to Rochdale on Tuesday, having been 2-0 down and seemingly on their way to another defeat after 70 minutes, was tinged with some regret.
After showing great heart and spirit to get back in the game when all seemed lost, the Cobblers had a glorious chance to pinch all three points.
First, Ash Taylor’s 72nd minute header, Town’s first league goal of any kind for 670 minutes, reignited hope of a comeback, reinforced by the introduction of John-Joe O’Toole and subsequent frantic push forward.
Buchanan, of all people, dramatically hauled the visitors level with an excellent first-time finish, and then with three minutes remaining, O’Toole was dragged down, the referee pointed to the spot and there was the chance to nick the most unlikely of victories.
Dale goalkeeper Josh Lillis thought otherwise, guessing the right way to get a strong hand to O’Toole’s spot-kick and deny Town three precious points.
This season we’ve been trying our best but some of the performances have been unacceptable if I’m being honest, especially the Bristol Rovers oneDave Buchanan
But it was still undoubtedly a point gained given the position they had earlier found themselves in, and it was two defenders who rescued them.
“I’m not only delighted to score a goal as crucial as that with the way it’s been going, but I’m just delighted to get a point on the board,” said Buchanan.
“At 2-0 down, after the way we’ve been going, we could have crumbled but fair play to the team, we showed fantastic character and we had the chance to go and win it.”
It was not just the fact that Buchanan had scored his first goal for six years and only his third in 500 games as a professional, it was that the goal came at a time when his struggling team needed it most.
That’s so typical of the man himself, who will always put the team ahead of any personal pride.
It was a good goal too, sweeping a first-time finish in off the far post following persistent play from Daniel Powell. It may have been 123 games in coming, but it was worth the wait.
“It was that time of the game when you’ve just got to take a chance and push on,” explained Buchanan on his thought process. “I think Powelly did some good work and it ricocheted through the lad’s legs.
“I should be doing that a lot more when I get in those positions. I just hit it and as soon as I did I knew it was in.
“I’ll take them when they come along because they don’t come along very often, but I’m just delighted for this club.
“Everyone knows what the team and the club has meant to me since I’ve been here, and it’s disappointing in the end, even though it feels like a victory, in some ways we could have walked off with three points after being 2-0 down.
“But that’s got to be a massive positive because Rochdale are a good team.”
The celebration that followed was of a man who doesn’t score many goals.
Racing back up the pitch towards the Cobblers fans, arm in the air and followed by his - perhaps disbelieving - team-mates, Buchanan didn’t seem sure how to react, having netted against the town in which he was born.
He later confirmed those suspicions, adding: “Believe you me, that was instinct!
“They were calling me Shearer in there the way I celebrated! I knew my family were in the main stand here so I started to run across to them but I realised obviously they’re in the Rochdale end.
“I just wanted to show appreciation for the fans. I keep on saying it, week in, week out, but I always thank them because they pay their hard-earned money to support us.
“This season we’ve been trying our best but some of the performances have been unacceptable if I’m being honest, especially the Bristol Rovers one.
“It’s important that everybody at the club - the staff, the players, the supporters - stick together and move on together.”
It’s now on to Gillingham on Saturday when the Cobblers must ensure Tuesday was no fluke.
“Every game in this league is difficult, whether it’s at home or away, and especially when you’re at the bottom because you’re scrapping for every point,” added the defender.
“Gillingham are another team like Rochdale and AFC Wimbledon who are near us in the table so it’s important we go there with the same attitude and show the same character as we did on Tuesday, and hopefully we get the three points.”