Curle: Supporters got us late winner against Stevenage - verdict, reaction and highlights

Once the euphoria of scoring a highly-dramatic 94th minute winner had settled down, this ugly but priceless 1-0 victory over struggling Stevenage prompted an extreme range of post-match assessments.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 8:44 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 8:57 am
Andy Williams celebrates his 94th minute winner against Stevenage. Picture: Pete Norton

All those in attendance at the PTS on New Year's Day witnessed the same 90 minutes and saw the same crazy scenes as Andy Williams dramatically snatched victory deep into stoppage-time.

But not everyone came away with the same outlook. Some took great pleasure in the result and were happy to ignore everything else, others pointed to another unconvincing performance and wondered why the Cobblers have come off the boil in recent weeks.

This was Town's fourth below-par showing on the trot - even their win over Forest Green before that was by no means perfect - and it raises legitimate question marks regarding their ability to sustain a push for the top seven.

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It goes without saying that they will have to improve on this showing if their play-off challenge is to last the season but sometimes, especially during such a hectic and busy part of the season, all that matters is the result.

It was, on this particular occasion, very much a case of substance over style.

"We know we're a work in progress and it's always easier to be working in an environment with a winning mentality and the players are improving on that," said manager Keith Curle afterwards.

"I think there's been a lot of changes to the appetite towards games, towards the profession and towards representing the football club within the changing room.

"There's a pride about it and there's a unity that's coming with the supporters."

There were plenty of opportunities for moans and groans from fans on New Year's Day but they stuck by their side right to the end and Curle feels it was that support which got his side over the line.

And given the amount of late goals the Cobblers have conceded in games they should have won this season, it's about time the shoe was on the other foot, not that Stevenage will agree.

"We feel their frustrations - at least I do because I'm closer to the players - and sometimes they show their disappointment when the ball goes out or when they don't hit the mark with crosses and things like that," added Curle.

"But today I've got to say that I thought the supporters got that goal at the end because they got that extra half-a-yard out of the players.

"It is difficult in this period with the amount of games over Christmas so you need the backing and you need the supporters and I thought they were there for us.

"Every time we got forward and every time we crossed the final third, they were helping to get more out of the players and that's important."