‘I didn’t know what to do – I completely lost my head!’
Joe Powell picked a good time to show Cobblers fans his best Ricky Holmes impression.
With Tuesday’s game against Newport goalless after 88 minutes, Town’s winning run was under threat and their hopes of a late surge into the play-offs were about to suffer a potentially fatal setback.
On as a substitute only 10 minutes earlier, his team required a moment of inspiration to claim a fourth straight victory - and he provided it in spectacular style.
Lurking on the edge of the box as Ash Taylor’s long throw was cleared, Powell showed superb technique, perfect timing and brilliant execution to unleash a thunderous left-footed volley that screamed into the net, clipping the bar on its way in.
As the cliche goes, it was a goal worthy of winning any game.
“When I came on, the gaffer said to me that if I see the goal and it opens up, just hit it,” said the 20-year-old.
“I was just standing on the edge of the box thinking ‘please fall to me’ and eventually it did so I hit it and it flew in – I was buzzing!
“I was thinking, ‘knowing my luck it’ll probably fly over’ so I watched the ball the whole way and I was just so happy to see it hit the back of the net.
“When you score a goal like that late on, everyone is very enthusiastic and it pushed us on for the final few minutes to not concede and hold on.”
Schooled by West Ham’s academy, it should be no surprise that Powell possesses the quality to pull off such a superb strike.
But scoring for academy teams is one thing, to do it to win a league match is another altogether.
“I’ve been in the West Ham academy for years now and they’ve taught me everything I know so obviously I’m very grateful, but it doesn’t compare at all,” added the midfielder.
“You score some worldies for the U23s and the U18s but the feeling doesn’t compare with league football.
“It means a lot more and to please the fans and everyone, it’s just the best feeling.
“As soon as it hit the net, I didn’t know what to do or think. I completely lost my head and threw my hands up in the air. I was a bit startled!
“I had all sorts in my head - knee slides, running around, jumping into the fans, taking my shirt off, everything!
“It was a surreal moment but a great celebration and a big win for us.”
Tuesday’s victory was hard-earned but it took the Cobblers into the top half of Sky Bet League Two for the first time all season, within six points of the play-offs. So, is the near impossible, possible?
“Anything’s possible,” said Powell. “When I first came here it was all about just getting as many wins as we can and as I said in my first interview, I want goals and assists.
“I’m happy to be providing for the team – hopefully we can make the play-offs!”
And perhaps a start at Grimsby on Saturday too? “I’d like to think I could start. I’ll do everything I can in training and in games to start every match but obviously that decision is down to the boss so whether it happens or not who knows.”