Super sub Williams the hero as Cobblers snatch injury-time win at Stevenage

Cobblers celebrate Joe Powell's first-half opener. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
Cobblers celebrate Joe Powell's first-half opener. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds

Andy Williams came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner as Cobblers laid to rest their relegation fears once and for all with a dramatic 2-1 victory at Stevenage on Saturday.

In similar fashion to three years ago, when Ricky Holmes was the last-minute hero on the same ground, Williams sent away fans wild at the Lamex Stadium by coolly slotting home in the 92nd minute, extending Town's unbeaten run to four games and lifting them 12 points above the drop in League Two.

Marvin Sordell returned from injury

Marvin Sordell returned from injury

The visitors had been leading for much of the contest after their bright start was rewarded by Joe Powell's first senior goal on 19 minutes, however Alex Revell struck against his old team to level with only 13 minutes to play.

But just when they looked destined for yet another draw - their 16th of the campaign - Cobblers dramatically salvaged all three points through Williams' fine run and finish as he stirred up old memories to surely ensure Northampton will be playing EFL football next season.

Manager Keith Curle settled on two changes for the trip to Stevenage and both saw players return from injury as Marvin Sordell partnered Sam Hoskins up front and Jordan Turnbull started in midfield, with Sam Foley also back on the bench.

Cobblers again played 4-4-2, but they were under early pressure at the Lamex with the lively Ilias Chair shooting off target from range and former Town striker Alex Revell heading Jordan Gibson's cross just over.

Sam Hoskins

Sam Hoskins

However, Hoskins curled an effort over the angle of post and bar as Cobblers worked their way back into the contest with a bright passage of play before moving ahead.

Hoskins was at the heart of their 19th-minute opener when the visitors pressed high and forced Stevenage to lose possession, the ball dropping to Hoskins who remained composed to pick out Powell and he too steadied himself under pressure when calmly sliding past Paul Farman for his first goal for the club.

Hoskins, a livewire in attack for Town, was close again on 25 minutes, shooting wide of the far post after getting into the box, but the visitors then gave up the initiative.

Chair continued to carry Stevenage's biggest threat at the other end and he almost levelled with two further attempts, denied by David Buchanan's last-ditch block and whipping a superb free-kick just wide.

Most of the home side's attacking play went through the dangerous Chair who also sent in a couple of teasing crosses that only needed a touch, however the Cobblers defended well to see out the first-half with their advantage intact.

It was more of the same in the second-half when Chair's free-kick just two minutes in forced David Cornell to sprawl away to his right and beating away the danger.

Cobblers were mostly content to sit deep and defend, but they had their moments in attack with John-Joe O'Toole toe-poking straight at Farman, Powell just unable to turn in Jack Bridge's teasing cross and Turnbull also firing too close to the home stopper from 25 yards.

The defensive move to replace Sordell with Foley only increased Stevenage's stranglehold of possession, but in truth Town defended resolutely and were relatively untroubled at the back.

That was until 13 minutes remaining though, when the visitors got back on level terms with a simple equaliser that came out of nothing. Chair was predictably the architect, his deep free-kick found floated all the way to the back post where Revell was on hand to head back across goal and into the bottom corner.

That appeared to have robbed Town of two points, but Williams had other ideas. Having forced Farman to tip around the post moments after Revell's leveller, he handed his side victory when taking the ball off Timlin, battling into the box and scooping over Farman, sending supporters behind the goal wild.

There were a few nervy moments as four of six added minutes still remained, but Williams' eight goal of the season was enough for all three points.

Stevenage: Farman, James-Wildin, Hunt, Wilkinson, Cuthbert, Timlin, Byrom (Ball 89), Gibson (Guthrie 59), Makasi (Sonupe 70), Chair, Revell (c)

Subs not used: Byrne, Henry, Iontton, Martin

Cobblers: Cornell, Goode, Taylor, Pierre (c), Buchanan, J Powell (A Williams 70), O'Toole, Turnbull (McWilliams 75), Bridge, Hoskins, Sordell (Foley 61)

Subs not used: Coddington, Elsnik, D Powell, Morias

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 3,540

Cobblers fans: 685