Cobblers boss Dean Austin felt complacency might have played a part in his side’s downfall at Morecambe on Tuesday evening when their winless start to the season continued with a 1-0 defeat.
On paper, Town were strong favourites for victory at the Globe Area where they took on the early relegation favourites who had failed to register a goal, let alone a point, this season ahead of the fixture.
It’s frustrating and I don’t like to say that my team have got out-worked and out-fought but I thought we were for 60 minutes tonightCobblers manager Dean Austin
But A-Jay Leitch-Smith took advantage of a long ball downfield to beat goalkeeper David Cornell and net the only goal of the game, handing the Shrimps their first three points of the campaign.
The Cobblers had at least played well in previous games this season despite disappointing results, but their standards dropped significantly on Tuesday, and asked to explain why, Austin said: “I think we might have just turned up tonight thinking that we’ve got a really good team and a really good squad of players and we’re just going to play our game
“But it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against in any game of football, you have to turn up and compete.
“You have to press people and press the ball.
“We have a game plan, we have away we want to play with and without the ball and in the first-half today it was just too easy.
“The first-half was especially poor. You could see our intensity wasn’t there, our pressing wasn’t there and as a team we were too easy to play against.
“It’s frustrating and I don’t like to say that my team have got out-worked and out-fought but I thought we were for 60 minutes tonight.”
The manner of Morecambe’s goal was of particular frustration for Austin after a long punt from deep set Leitch-Smith away on goal in first-half stoppage-time and he made no mistake.
“You see the clock go up and there’s two minutes of stoppage-time and you think we’ll regroup at half-time and set a few things right, but then we give away the most stupid, bizarre goal,” added Austin.
“We shouldn’t be trying to smash 70-yard crossfield balls with 30 seconds to run down on the clock.
“We don’t need to be going gung-ho at that time - it was just poor game management and gave us a mountain to climb.
“We had two unbelievable chances - again - in the first-half but we had a couple of lucky escapes with Dai (Cornell) making a brilliant save which he tipped onto the bar.
“I couldn’t really see how they were going to score and I was just waiting for us to click into gear and to start playing with some enthusiasm.”