Yeovil Town 1 Northampton Town 1 '“ match review, player ratings and highlights
The second leg of Northampton's League Two farewell tour took them back to the west country where, not for the first time in recent weeks, they recovered from a sluggish start to re-write the history books and extend their staggering unbeaten run.
Yeovil began quicker, sharper and on the front foot at Huish Park but Northampton rode the early storm, reversed the tide and will feel frustrated not to have come away with all three points which would have kept the 100-point target alive.
They had their chances to prolong that dream for another week at least but failure to bring up a century of points will not take the gloss off this sensational season, especially after they set a new club record for a sixth time.
To go 22 league games unbeaten is a quite remarkable feat and one achieved through a combination of resilience, spirit and quality.
Several times that run, which stretches all the way back to before Christmas, has been under threat and looked in jeopardy, with the Cobblers falling behind on five separate occasions, but time and again Chris Wilder and his players have found a way to grind out a result, a priceless quality that was illustrated on Saturday.
Unfortunately, not for the first time this season, a dreadful officiating display took centre stage at Huish Park with referee Charles Breakspear determined to blow his whistle at every opportunity, not once allowing the game to flow or find any natural rhythm.
Clear advantages were pulled back and the softest of fouls were awarded, not to mention Yeovil’s opening goal appeared a good yard or two offside.
It was a shame because this game had the makings of an entertaining and enjoyable encounter but the referee’s insistence to put whistle to mouth prevented either side from building up a head of steam.
The first-half was almost a game of two halves in itself.
A well-organised, disciplined and tenacious Yeovil side gave League Two’s best team problems in a lively opening 20 minutes, with the sloppy visitors misplacing simple passes and getting overrun in a laboured start, something which has been a regular occurrence in recent weeks.
While it’s hardly a disaster at this stage of the season, manager Chris Wilder must have some concerns by his side’s slow starts against Stevenage, Mansfield and now Yeovil, especially as those in League One might not be so forgiving.
Opposing teams have learnt that perhaps the only way to stop this Northampton side is to come flying out of the traps and put them under early pressure, and the Cobblers have struggled to come up with an answer.
This time it was Harry Cornick who capitalised when heading Yeovil ahead on just six minutes.
But no matter, Northampton always found a way to gain a foothold and eventually their class and resilience has shone through, with teams unable to maintain that high intensity for the whole game.
It was the same pattern which developed at Huish Park.
As if someone had just flicked a switch around the half-hour mark, Northampton clicked into gear and suddenly the momentum swung the other way with Sam Hoskins and John-Joe O’Toole spurning gilt-edged chances to level.
When Northampton did manage to build some forward momentum, there were signs that Yeovil would struggled to deal with their movement and slick interplay.
That proved the case for the goal when a well-worked move involving Ricky Holmes, Danny Rose and John Marquis ended with Nicky Adams easily heading in an equaliser.
Now level, the Cobblers should have been ahead by half-time but Marquis somehow failed to connect to Adams’ cut-back and with that came the last real clear-cut chance of the game.
A scrappy, disjointed and low-key second-half ensued during which both sides seemed to tire in this their 44th game of the season.
There were chances as Northampton carried the marginally greater threat, but neither Adam Smith or Artur Krysiak were overly troubled and the game ended level which fairly reflected a decent end-of-season contest.
With the way they have performed and dispatched records at will this season, it feels a great shame that the Cobblers will come up just short of the 100-point mark, but that in itself is indicative of this remarkable, record-breaking team.
How they rated...
Adam Smith - Strong suspicion of offside for the goal but Smith seemed to hesitate which allowed Cornick to nip in. Yeovil struggled to trouble him after that... 6
Josh Lelan - Can be tentative and sometimes appears reluctant to get forward but didn’t really do much wrong aside from the odd moment of naivety... 7
Zander Diamond - Early injury scare but recovered well and put in another reliable shift... 7
Rod McDonald - Never really allowed Yeovil a sniff, mopping up most long balls down the channels and over the top... 7
David Buchanan - Bombed forward with regularity in the first-half to provide Northampton’s best attacking outlet, delivering several teasing crosses. Business as usual defensively... 8 CHRON STAR MAN
John-Joe O’Toole - Curiously sloppy in possession and grew increasingly frustrated with some dubious officiating decisions, albeit understandably... 6
Danny Rose - Had a hand in the goal with a lovely chipped cross but dropped a fraction below his recent high standards as Yeovil gave him no time on the ball... 7
Ricky Holmes - Carried a threat all afternoon. Created the goal with an exquisite reverse pass and constantly had Yeovil’s back four back-peddling towards their own goal with his driving runs forward... 7
Nicky Adams - Mirrored his team by starting slowly before coming to life. Took his goal well and should have had an assist or two only for team-mates to waste his good work... 8
Sam Hoskins - Bubbly, lively but not able to stamp his mark on the game. Free header directed straight at Krysiak was his biggest contribution... 6
John Marquis - Missed a golden chance to put Cobblers ahead moments after the equaliser. Was a handful for the Yeovil defence with his energy and enthusiasm, playing a role in the equaliser, but needs to be more clinical... 7
Alfie Potter - 6
James Collins - 6
Lawson D’Ath - 6