Goalkeeper Jonny Maxted admitted he had ‘big shoes to fill’ when stepping in for the suspended Liam Roberts during Saturday’s play-off semi-final first leg against Mansfield.
Roberts had played every minute of every league game during the regular season – up until stoppage-time against Barrow on the final day when he was sent off for punching the ball outside of his area.
A one-game suspension followed, ruling him out of Saturday’s tie at Field Mill and providing a rare opportunity for Maxted.
“It's my first competitive game since October so I just was trying to get up to speed,” said the 28-year-old.
"Obviously Robbo has done brilliantly this season and it was big shoes to fill but I have experience of playing in big games and I’m always ready for the opportunity.
"I work hard every day in training and I'm ready to take a chance when it's given to me. It will be the gaffer’s decision who plays in the second leg. Robbo has been magnificent but I felt like I did well.”
Rhys Oates fired the opening goal through Maxted’s legs before Jamie Murphy’s cross-shot deflected off the goalkeeper and fell kindly to Jordan Bowery.
"A few of the lads were saying that the first goal is offside,” Maxted added. “The second goal is one of those where you have to try and stand your ground at your near post.
"I thought I had got enough on it but their lad had come in at the back stick behind Ali to tap it into an empty net.”
Maxted made a good stop from Oates to stop it going 3-0 early in the second-half, adding: “It took a massive deflection off Fraser (Horsfall). It's gone to my right and I've just made a reaction save and kept it out of the net. Let's hope that save is an important moment in the tie.
"We were a bit slow out of the blocks but in the second-half we came out all guns blazing and the boys dug deep and we grabbed that goal back which gives us a better chance going into the second leg.
"We have given ourselves a good chance. It might have been a different story if we went back to Sixfields 2-0 behind.”