Match-winning brace leaves ‘fox in the box’ Long hungry for more goals

Chris Long celebrates his second and match-winning goal with Matt Crooks. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
Chris Long celebrates his second and match-winning goal with Matt Crooks. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
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Striker Chris Long says he ‘doesn’t care’ how his goals come about - just as long as he keeps scoring and the Cobblers keep winning on the back of Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Walsall at Sixfields.

Now up to five for the campaign, Long has moved to the top of the club’s scoring charts after netting both goals in Northampton’s much-needed win against the Saddlers.

The 22-year-old had not netted since November 11 and Town’s victory at Oxford United but following Erhun Oztumer’s second-minute opener on Saturday, he made a timely return to the score sheet.

The two goals arrived in different circumstances, the first being a poacher’s finish after goalkeeper Mark Gillespie had brilliantly kept out John-Joe O’Toole but the second was all of his own making as he collected David Buchanan’s pass, turned and fizzed a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

“I’ll take those goals all day,” said Long on his equaliser. “I was a fox in the box! As long as I keep scoring, I don’t care if it’s a 40-yard screamer or it’s a tap-in.

“A goal’s a goal at the end of the day and now I want more to be honest. As long as I get the ball to feet and I get a shot away and the goals are coming, I’ll be happy.

Long's shot finds the bottom corner

Long's shot finds the bottom corner

“It (the second goal) is up there. I’ve scored better goals in the past but it meant a lot because it was the winning goal.

“I didn’t have many shots after that. I had a left-footed shot and if that went in it would have been a perfect hat-trick. It didn’t come for me but we got the win and it’s not about me - it’s about the team and we got the win and I’m made up to be honest.”

Long’s two goals ultimately proved decisive after a dogged second-half performance from Northampton which saw them limit Walsall to very few chances, with the sound of the full-time whistle allowing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men to celebrate a first win of any kind in over a month.

Long added: “Obviously the past two results and before that haven’t been good enough so it’s good to bounce back with this win and it’s a confidence booster for us and we can go into the next game with our heads held high.

If I get my chances, I’ll take them. I haven’t really had many chances in the past couple of games and that’s very frustrating but if I get them, I’ll bury them.”

“The team have stayed together. We’ve got a lot of good lads here and the manager’s been very good as well, as has the assistant. We’re all very together.

“It hasn’t been good enough recently but we need to carry on from Saturday and take the confidence from that game and look to get a result from the next game.”

Long has clearly been frustrated at the lack of clear chances being created for him this season but he appeared to benefit from playing alongside the returning O’Toole on Saturday.

Stationed in the number 10 role, O’Toole’s presence was key in linking up Northampton’s midfield and attack as his aggressive style held the ball up and brought team-mates into play.

“I like playing with John-Joe,” added Long. “He’s very aggressive and wins the ball in the air. I like running in behind and he helps me a lot.

“If I get my chances, I’ll take them. I haven’t really had many chances in the past couple of games and that’s very frustrating but if I get them, I’ll bury them.”