Chris Wilder could barely contain his joy after witnessing his side pull off a superb comeback to beat Stevenage 3-2, a victory that the Northampton manager feels epitomises why his side are sitting 11 points clear and on course for the League Two title.
A strangely out-of-sorts Cobblers side were fortunate to only trail 2-1 going into the interval as James Collins headed home Joel Byrom’s free-kick on the cusp of half-time after Luke Wilkinson scored twice to put Stevenage 2-0 in front.
Northampton improved markedly after the break, however, as John-Joe O’Toole levelled before Ricky Holmes scored a fabulous winner four minutes into stoppage time to complete the turnaround.
It was the sort of comeback which champions are made of and with Northampton now on 82 points, Wilder spoke like a man who knows the job is all but completed.
“It’s a big, big day for us,” he said. “We’ve still got work to do but to be on 82 points with nine games to go is mind-boggling.
“You dream of days like this with the ending we had.
“You have bad days and days when it doesn’t go for you but fortunately it’s gone for us today and it’s gone for us because of the spirit of the football club.
“We were 2-0 down and our supporters were louder than ever which speaks volumes about them and the reaction after half-time was first class and that’s the reason that we’re sitting here with the result.”
Despite struggling at the other end of League Two, Stevenage were good value for their 2-0 lead after Wilkinson had twice profited from poor defending, however Collins’ goal four minutes before half-time proved vital as it sparked a terrific fightback, aided by a late red card to Fraser Franks.
Wilder added: “I said to the players at half-time that there’s been better teams than us and more successful teams than us, teams who have won Premier League, and they’ve been in the situation we were today and it’s about how you get out of it.
“We were disjointed and you have to give an enormous amount of credit to Stevenage because they had a lot to play for and we gifted them a couple of goals which got their tails up.
“It was a real difficult 45 minutes for us but we regrouped and the goal before half-time was massively important.
“They were still dangerous and we didn’t really handle their corners very well but we always looked we would go on when we got it back to 2-2.
“We looked to have run out of time but then the magician comes up at the death and scores a fantastic goal and days like today is why everybody is involved in football.
“Championship winning teams who have won things year in year out have games like we did today and they come through it and that’s why they win things and I thought the second half showed why I believe we’re in a fantastic position to win this league.”