When Andy Williams opened the scoring 88 minutes into Saturday’s game at Yeovil Town, he, like everyone else, must have felt the Cobblers had finally secured themselves three hard-earned points.
On as a second-half substitute in place of Matt Crooks, the striker provided a rare moment of quality in an otherwise disappointing and lacklustre encounter when applying a composed finish to Shaun McWilliams’ excellent through pass.
The Cobblers had not played well up until that point at Huish Park but they were now just minutes away from grinding out one of those ugly and yet crucial 1-0 away wins that all good teams have a knack of doing.
Only, they didn’t count on the brilliance of Yoann Arquin. Within 90 seconds of Williams’ goal, the Yeovil man, a former player for Keith Curle at Notts County, dramatically hauled the struggling hosts level with a spectacular long-range half-volley that thundered in via the crossbar, crushing Town’s hopes of boosting their play-off hopes.
“We’re massively disappointed,” admitted Williams afterwards. “Given the time I scored at I thought it was going to be the winning goal so it’s really frustrating.
“I think you give him a 100 shots at that and it’ll go in once and that’s just the way it’s gone for us a few times this season. It’s frustrating.
It’s the worst chance in football for me. I think most strikers will say that about a one-on-one chance because, although it seems the simplest way to score a goal, you just get so much time to think about it.
“We’re a disappointed group because those are the levels that we’ve set and we expect to be winning these games so we’re not where we want to be going into Christmas.
“But we can’t be too down about it. We got an away point and now hopefully we can get a win on Boxing Day.”
Truth be told though, the Cobblers did not deserve more than a point from this game in the west country as 87 minutes of abject boredom made way for a breathless, chaotic finish.
For more than one reason, the result was a blow to Town’s play-off aspirations this season. Not only because they failed to beat free-falling, badly out-of-form Yeovil, or even the galling manner of the home side’s equaliser, but the fact that their performance once again failed to hit the mark.
When trying to assess Northampton’s form, you can look at it one of two ways: it’s either two defeats in 13 league games or just one win in their last eight.
“It’s not the end of the world to be picking up points away from home,” Williams continued. “But because we haven’t converted a couple at home it makes it more frustrating.
“The timing of the goal was even more frustrating and it’s a bit of a freak goal - I don’t think there’s anyone you can blame because it’s a great strike and a great goal.
“We had a few opportunities to put the ball in behind before the goal and we maybe turned those down but other than that I thought it was a decent performance from the lads.
“I think everyone would agree we could play better than that but it should have been one of those games where you can say that and yet come away with a 1-0 win on the road, which would have been perfect. Unfortunately for us, their man spoilt it.”
Despite belatedly finding his scoring boots this season, Williams had been an unused substitute in Town’s two previous games before he came off the bench to net at Huish Park. his third goal in four appearances and fifth of the campaign.
“It’s the worst chance in football for me,” Williams confessed when asked about his goal. “I think most strikers will say that about a one-on-one chance because, although it seems the simplest way to score a goal, you just get so much time to think about it.
“It helped that I had a poor touch after a good touch because it made my mind up and I was able to get a good connection into the bottom corner.
“I was happy with the finish in the end but it’s not nice to be bearing down on goal with that much time. You’d think a striker would love it but sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do!
“It’s just what you want to do when you’re watching the game and you come off the bench because you want to make an impact and score a goal.”
Williams gets as grouchy as any footballer when he’s not playing but, on target at Yeovil and with Curle likely to rotate his team during the manic festive period, the 32-year-old will fancy his chances of starting against Swindon Town on Boxing Day.
“I hope to be involved,” he added. “It’s been frustrating the last few games not to even get on the pitch but that’s now three in my last three league appearances so I’ll hope to continue my form at home.
“I think every footballer worth their salt wants to be on the pitch and that’s the same with me. I want to be on the pitch for as long as possible to get as many chances as I can to score as many goals as I can.
“That’s the way my mind works and obviously my thought process behind that is, the more goals you score, the more likely you are to win the game and move up the table.
“That’s five for the season now and I’m hoping to build on that and hopefully I get on the pitch on Boxing Day and make an impact for the team.”