Dutch striker Kevin Van Veen showed he is no clogger with a smart showing off the bench as Town beat Forest Green 2-1 at Sixfields, writes Tom Reed.
The former PSV man hunted down Liam Shepherd and showed tremendous foresight to rob the Forest Green full-back, squaring to Andy Williams to slot home the winner in time added on.
It was a Dolly Parton performance for the Northampton in coming from behind for the win as they worked to 95. But it was Van Veen, Cobblers’ sexy goal machine who was the best player on the park, proving he is too good to be sub.
The 95th minute sparked scenes of celebration not see in Northampton since the Beatles played the ABC cinema with a mini pitch invasion from the shoe army who couldn’t quite believe they had won.
But win they did, ending Rovers’ 16 match unbeaten run and bringing the first home league win for Town in 175 days.
In truth, Forest Green were the better side in the first half on a gusty but warm day at Sixfields and went into the break in the lead thanks to an apparently offside goal from Reuben Reid. The former Plymouth man ran on to a looped ball forward, in advance of his defender, skipping past Dai Cornell before sliding the ball home in front of the North Stand.
Town fans were left wondering where goals were to come from with wing-back Billy Waters misfiring and blazing high and wide from a cute Dave Buchanan free-kick.
Yet mysterious Keith Curle had an ace up his sleeve in Van Veen and brought the sharp shooter into play just shy of the hour mark.
Until that point Gloucestershire club Rovers had dominated possession, showing what a force they are on the break and winning the majority of personal tussles. But with Van Veen, Town suddenly looked like match winners and powerhouse centre-back Aaron Pierre began to resemble a certain mr Akinfenwa in the opposition box. On 63 minutes the athletic Jordan Turnbull nodded back a Buchanan corner at the back stick for Pierre to head home an equaliser.
Sanguine Cobblers, in their claret shirts smelt blood and Sam Hoskins should have finished the game with a snap-shot on the turn which crept narrowly wide.
With time ticking down, it seemed that all Cobblers’ pressure would come to nothing but Van Veen was not giving up on his own halfway line header which bounced uncomfortably for Shepherd. Van Veen pounced, wolf like, using supreme cunning to snatch the ball and cut back for Williams to slot home.
Cue a Sixields eruption, Town up to 19th place and next weekend’s trip to MK one taken in optimism. Cobblers have gone from being a club ripe for a clear out to a team with several skilful players to build a team around. The man Van Veen being a prime example.
Van Veen: 9