Nutmeg on old pal O'Toole tops off another special day for Adams
When Nicky Adams eventually decides to hang up his boots, he will not be short of fond memories by which to remember his career.
And while the 33-year-old has achieved plenty of success elsewhere, it’s at the Cobblers where he’s enjoyed some of his greatest times.
The 2015/16 season was littered with magic moments and special memories, both in league and cup, and Adams was an integral figure during Town’s romp to the title.
Now, having returned to the club last summer, he can add another career highlight to his collection after the Cobblers, cheered on by 1,500 magnificent fans, shocked League One side Burton Albion on a memorable afternoon in the FA Cup last Sunday.
“What a day! The supporters were amazing and the atmosphere was incredible,” beamed Adams afterwards.
“We went there in good spirits and the win against Stevenage the other day and the way it happened gave us a bit of a lift after a tough period.
“We were in confident mood and I think from start to finish, from one to 11, plus the lads that came on, we were absolutely brilliant.”
There were a sizeable 20 places between the two teams prior to kick-off on Sunday and Burton also had the added advantage of playing at home.
And yet Town’s fine victory, achieved thanks to their most accomplished performance during Keith Curle’s reign, was very much in keeping with the theory that they produce their best against superior opposition.
The Cobblers have beaten four of the top seven in the league this season and on Sunday they sent a now-established League One club crashing out of the FA Cup.
It certainly bodes well given they want to be taking on higher calibre opposition up a division next season.
“The gaffer obviously said it would be a tough game but we had our gameplan, we worked on it and then executed it,” explained Adams.
“We started brilliantly and the first half was superb.
“We were disappointed to concede right on half-time after going three up but we didn’t worry about it.
“We said at half-time to stay in the game and stay solid because they would have to go for it and gaps would appear for us and that’s what happened.
“The second half was more about counter-attacking because they went for it and they’re a good side in League One but we hit them on the break with a great counter-attack.
“We spoke before the game how they’re in League One and that’s where we want to be next season and we want to be playing against these teams all the time now.
“We set our stall out and now people have seen what we’re capable of against these teams so it was a brilliant day all-round.”
Town’s win was not the only surprising event to occur at the Pirelli on Sunday.
Adams is renowned for his assists – he’s well into double figures for the season –but it’s taken until January for him to finally find the net himself.
He made sure it was worth waiting for though, producing a lovely controlled volley 10 minutes in to set Cobblers on their way to a famous win.
He said: “I told the lads before that I only score in the big ones!
“But I’ve always said I don’t worry about scoring goals. If I get one, I get one and it was nice to score on Sunday and get us off the mark.
“It set the tempo of the game for us and helped get a massive win.”
Of course Adams couldn’t resist adding another assist to his tally when his corner was headed home by Charlie Goode late in the first half.
That made it 3-0 in a rampant first 45 minutes from the away team and even though Burton pulled one back in stoppage-time, nothing could stop Cobblers charging into round four, the first time they’ve done so since 2004.
Ryan Watson headed in a devilish Sam Hoskins cross between goals from Adams and Goode before a sweeping counter-attack was finished nicely by Hoskins 20 minutes from full-time.
Such was Town’s dominance, the fantastic travelling support could even enjoy Burton’s consolation in injury-time.
And just to top the day off, Adams got one over good friend and former team-mate John-Joe O’Toole, who came on as a first-half substitute for the home side.
“I nutmegged him a couple of times in front of the fans,” chuckled Adams. “He said he’ll probably whack me when we get back in the changing room!
“But he’s a very good friend of mine and he’ll always be a friend for life after what we went through at this club.
“It was a special memory with that group of boys during that season because we lived together, we went out together, we did everything together.
“We’ve got a similar situation here now. Obviously it’s different circumstances now and the club is a lot more stable than it was then.
“John-Joe’s a pal but when we’re out on the pitch he wants to win and so do I.
“Off the pitch we’re good mates and I wish Burton all the best.
“They’re a good side with some good players and hopefully they can have a little play-off push.”