Scoring a goal to bring your side level with the mighty Manchester United is not a regular occurrence, so perhaps Alex Revell’s emotional reaction to successfully converting a pressure spot-kick in Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie was an understandable one.
Revell has seen almost everything during his 16-year playing career which has taken him to 13 different clubs, but this was something new even for him, and you could tell what it meant by his celebration.
This was no consolation either. At the time, United led by one and after Sam Hoskins was felled by Daley Blind, it was all down to Revell to bring Sixfields to life and peg the Red Devils back.
There was never any doubt. Sergio Romero dived one way, the ball went the other. Northampton were level.
“It was a great feeling,” admitted Revell. “When you’ve got the ball for a penalty, it’s all down to you and your mental side but I was really confident and I feel confident here.
“It meant a great deal to me because all my family were here and these are the moments you have to remember in football because when you finish you can look back on one of the best moments of your career.
“Whenever it’s only 1-0 you’re always in the game. We had a few corners and we huffed and puffed until half-time.
“If we had carried on the momentum into the second-half that might have been better for us but it is what it is and we’ve done ourselves proud with the effort and commitment we’ve put in.”
Whilst clearly proud of his team’s efforts, there was no hiding the fact that Wednesday’s valiant defeat came with a tinge of disappointment, with Revell not the only one to have that nagging feeling of what could have been.
“Obviously they were going to have a lot of possession because they’re the team from a higher league,” he added.
It meant a great deal to me because all my family were here and these are the moments you have to remember in football because when you finish you can look back on one of the best moments of your career.Alex Revell
“They went 1-0 up through a mistake of our own doing but I felt we were still in the game and it was important to get back to 1-1 before half-time.
“We put pressure on them, the whole attitude of the team changed and we were on the front foot.
“I thought we would carry that on but I think it’s just the realisation that if you make mistakes at a higher level, you get punished and that’s what has happened.
“We’ve made three mistakes and we’ve been punished for them.”
As for his battle against Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, who have 67 international caps between them, Revell relished the challenge despite admitting he may have come off second best, though not by much.
He continued: “I felt like they knocked lumps out of me! To be honest it was great to play against them and it’s nice to test yourself and see what the difference is.
“The difference is that they keep the ball and always have options and for us it’s a learning curve, we can learn from what they did well.
“They had to bring on their best players to make it comfortable so that’s a positive for us. When you look around and see the players they have, you realise they’ve taken it seriously.
“They were quite respectful and they knew they had to put a strong team out.”
Now it’s about recovering, learning from their mistakes and focusing on the league which, when all is said and done, will always be Northampton’s priority.
“We’ve had a good start to the season and that’s come from hard graft and togetherness, but you can’t legislate for mistakes and we need to cut those out as a team,” Revell added.
“We have to learn because this game was built up and it’s been brilliant for everyone involved for the club but now we’re back to what is our bread and butter and we have to forget about this and get ready for what is probably a tougher game on Saturday.
“You’re always learning in this game and if we can put in more performances like those 25 minutes (against United), we’ll do well this season.
“We’re all disappointed because we were in the game but they’re one of the biggest teams in the world and we haven’t disgraced ourselves.
“We gave them a good game and now we can concentrate on the league.”