FEATURE: Assist-king Adams sees echoes of title-winning side among current Cobblers team-mates
The identity of the goalscorer may have been unclear, even after several video replays, but there were no prizes on offer for guessing who delivered the assist for Cobblers' winning goal against Forest Green Rovers last week.
Town knew what they were getting when Nicky Adams re-joined in the summer and he sure hasn't disappointed.
His corner on Saturday, another devilish delivery that was turned in, it seems, by Rovers defender Matt Mills, took his assist tally to 10 in all competitions, well clear of any of his team-mates.
“I crossed the ball and it looked like Hosko scored,” said Adams. “But I’ll have to look at it back because I won’t be happy if they’ve taken an assist away from me!
“But it’s easy for me to be honest because I just put the ball in the box and get it in a dangerous area – it doesn’t really matter how they go in.
“Every time I put the ball in we look a threat because all the lads are getting in the box, which makes my job easier.”
That was Adams’ 10th assist of the campaign in all competitions and whilst he’s yet to score himself, those deadly balls into the box, coupled with Town’s aerial prowess, are causing chaos for opposition defences.
It’s a simple but effective tactic and its benefits were again showcased against Forest Green as Cobblers started well, edged in front through a set-piece and then defended doggedly to collect another three points, their sixth successive home win.
Not so long ago, Cobblers’ form as the PTS was their major undoing but they now boast the best home record of any team in League Two.
“We have to make it a fortress if we want to do well in this league,” added Adams.
“You’ve got to do well in your home games and you’ve got to make it a place where people don’t want to come.
“I think we’re really getting that now. We were disappointed not to win at Exeter because we probably took our eye off the ball a bit and conceded a couple of cheap goals, which isn’t like us.
“But we knew coming back home the supporters would be right behind us, as they have been all season.
“It was a tough game because Forest Green are a good side and have a lot of attacking players so we had to be solid, but we had a gameplan and we stuck to it.”
A slow start followed by an autumn charge, there have been echoes of the title-winning campaign in recent weeks.
Adams was a vital cog in Chris Wilder’s brilliant team during 2015/16 so is well-placed to judge how the current squad stacks up.
"You look at the team Chris and Alan (Knill) had - they assembled a really good side and it was a special team," he said.
“I think we’ve got a few similarities if you look through the squad. We’ve got some really good young players and hopefully we can keep everyone fit.
“The gaffer’s been great with us as well. It can take time and when I was here before it took a bit of time then so if you have that patience you see what we can do.
“We’ve been hard to beat. We came up against a good footballing side last Saturday but we know what we’re good at and we’ve got great spirit and a great changing room and that takes you a long way.
“We’ve got a settled team and even the lads who have come in and played games, they’ve been great as well.
“It’s a really good squad and we’ll need it with all the games coming up. There’s a lot of good teams in the league but I think we’ve got a real good chance.
“We’ve got to stay on our game and not have many slip-ups. It’s been good from my point of view and hopefully we’ll keep winning games and stay in the mix.”
Cobblers start the Christmas period with a trip to Mansfield Town this afternoon before they head south to Crawley on Boxing Day.
Then comes two home games against Cheltenham and Stevenage, followed by the FA Cup clash at Burton Albion.
How they fare in those games will not make or break their season but a strong return would set the Cobblers up nicely going into 2020.
“It’s good for the fans,” continued Adams. “They’ve had disappointments over the last couple of seasons and it’s not easy all of the time but we’ve had the mindset of wanting to put a smile on everyone’s face.
“It’s a great club. I’ve obviously been here before and we’re just looking forward to games. We got into every game excited and there’ll be more twists and turns and more defeats but that’s football.
“If we keep going, keep a smile on our face and keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be in and around it.”