Pain of being denied promotion on the final day will live with Cobblers' players for a while

‘At any other stage of the season you would be happy with a 3-1 win away from home.’

By James Heneghan
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 3:03 pm
Shaun McWilliams

Cobblers midfielder Shaun McWilliams admits the pain of missing out on promotion in the manner his team did is not something the players are likely to forget in a hurry.

Town looked for all the world to have third place sewn up with just 45 minutes of the season remaining as they led 3-1 against Barrow whilst Bristol Rovers were 2-0 up on Scunthorpe United.

However, whilst Cobblers did not manage to add to their score in the second-half, Rovers scored five unanswered goals to snatch promotion on goals scored.

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"We didn't think too much of it before the game because we didn't worry about them and the focus was on ourselves,” said McWilliams.

"Before the final whistle, we knew the position they were in and what we needed to do and obviously it was hard to take when the final whistle went.

"I don't think it will get any easier any time soon but we put ourselves in a strong position and it meant, if something like that did happen, we would have another chance in the play-offs.

"We are in the play-offs now and we have two games to try and get to Wembley. That's obviously the aim.”

Rovers had not even spent a day in the top three until the dying moments of the season.

"It's not something that will go out of my mind for a while but we have a job to do and we are always ready for the next game, even after what happened at the weekend,” added McWilliams.

"At any other stage of the season you would be happy with a 3-1 win away from home. The good thing for us is that we are unbeaten in six games now. There wasn’t much more we could have done.

"I don't think a situation like that will happen again for a long time in terms of being promoted on goals scored and winning 7-0 on the final day but we have still had a great season.

"We finished four points off top and that shows just how well we have done but it just wasn't meant to be on the day.”