Hasselbaink applauds his players for their fighting performance in Blackburn draw

ON THE UP: Hasselbaink's team continued to show improvement - despite dropping two places - in Saturday's draw with Blackburn. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds
ON THE UP: Hasselbaink's team continued to show improvement - despite dropping two places - in Saturday's draw with Blackburn. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had nothing but praise for his players after they showed 'commitment, organisation and togetherness' to come away from Ewood Park with a battling 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers

Northampton were 16 minutes away from pulling off arguably the shock result of the season across League One as they gave title-chasing Blackburn a major fright before in the end having to settle for what was a fair point.

They held the lead for most of the game and that came courtesy of another goal by in-form John-Joe O'Toole whose well-placed header from a slick counter-attack on 11 minutes was eventually cancelled out by Danny Graham's late finish.

It still counts as a point gained though - despite sending them down two places in the league to 20th - and Hasselbaink was largely positive afterwards as he reflected on his side's fourth game unbeaten, matching their best such run of the season.

"I think if you asked before the game, you say it's a point gained," he said afterwards. "During the game, if you look at it, yes they had a lot of the play, especially in the second-half, and we had our backs to the wall, but did they create much? Did they work the goalkeeper? No, not really.

"The only time they did that, it was the goal, so you could look at as two points dropped but that's me being greedy!

"Let's be clear, we're playing at Blackburn who are favourites for promotion but we put our best foot forward and battled hard. In the first-half we were excellent and we caused them a lot of problems before half-time.

"You can't dominate for 96 minutes against Blackburn because they are too good for that so we knew there'd be spells where we'd have to defend as a unit and as a team really well.

"I think you have to applaud the players for their commitment, for their organisation, for their togetherness and the amount of blocks and hard-work that they put in to get that point and that result. If you analyse it like that, it's a point gained."

O'Toole's fourth goal of the season was the final touch of a fantastic counter-attack by the Cobblers, which stemmed from a Blackburn corner and involved Chris Long, Matt Crooks and a pinpoint Joe Bunney cross.

"We know that, when he arrives in the box, he can be dangerous because he's got that feeling for knowing when and where the ball arrives and he tucked it away really well and it was a good goal," added Hasselbaink.

Hasselbaink also confirmed that midfielder Shaun McWilliams missed the game through illness.