Cobblers captain Kelvin Langmead felt the team were ‘really poor’ as they secured a vital victory at Southend on Saturday.
The skipper scored the game’s winning goal in injury time to push Town back up to seventh in the npower League Two table with 14 games left to play.
It was a late win over a Southend side ravaged by injury and who managed to cancel out Roy O’Donovan’s goal with a Matthew Lund effort even though they were down to 10 men at that time.
In fact, for long periods, the Shrimpers enjoyed the better possession despite being short-handed, a fact acknowledge by Langmead but one he feels is superseded by the result.
“For the goal, I just managed to get a touch on it,” he said. “When you’ve got B (Adebayo Akinfenwa) and Platty (Clive Platt) challenging for the ball they create problems for any defence.
“I was delighted to score it but we were really poor. Against 10 men we should have dominated them and punished them.
“We were ahead when their player was sent off and we should have pushed on at that point because you know the next goal is going to be crucial.
“But the three points are the most important thing and that’s what we’re going to concentrate on.”
The victory looked unlikely for long spells of the second half, in which Southend had the majority of the possession and created the better chances, albeit without ever really extending Lee Nicholls.
A failure to win would have prompted fresh questions about the team’s mental strength but the fact they did clinch victory, Langmead feels, proves they do have what it takes to pick up results when not playing well, and away from Sixfields.
“It would have been frustrating to have dropped points in this game,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game against a good team but against 10 men you have to back yourself.
“They got the equaliser but we just didn’t give up and we’ve got to be able to grind results out and get late wins if we have to.”