Hasselbaink hails fighting spirit as Cobblers fight back for Dale draw
Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hailed his side's fighting spirit after they came from 2-0 down to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw from Tuesday's Sky Bet League One encounter at Rochdale.
Town looked down and out after 70 minutes when they trailed to two Ian Henderson goals, but they then launched a terrific fightback that nearly concluded with them claiming all three points in a frantic finale.
Ash Taylor headed one goal back, ending the team’s 670-minute barren run, before David Buchanan’s first ever goal for the Cobblers, in his 123rd appearance for the club, pulled the visitors level.
And they would have gone one better and clinched the unlikeliest of victories had John-Joe O’toole not been denied by Josh Lillis from the penalty spot late on.
Hasselbaink felt his side would have been worthy of victory had O’Toole scored, but he was nonetheless content with a much-needed draw that gives his side something to build from following poor run of recent form.
“We played all right,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Forget about the goals, as a team I think we came to a very difficult place where you have to stand up and be counted and we did that.
“Our goalkeeper had a couple of saves to make, but they were more from shots from outside the box and I think we actually deserved to win the game.
“Forget about the penalty, Aaron Pierre hit a magnificent shot that was blocked by our own player and Sam Foley has a great header that comes off the back of the head of a defender who doesn’t know anything about it.
“We kept on going. The spirit is high and we kept fighting.
“I didn’t think it was a penalty for them, but the referee gave it and they scored for 2-0, but we showed spirit and fight and I think that we were worthy of at least point but we deserved three points.”
O’Toole assumed responsibility for the spot-kick, taking over from designated penalty taker Matt Grimes, but despite missing, there was no blame attached to the midfielder.
“It happened,” added Hasselbaink. “He took it and he missed but we support him.
“He felt good at the moment. If Matt Grimes took it, he could have missed as well so John-Joe took the decision which was very brave and unfortunately he missed.
“But we move on and we are part of one team and we stay together.”