Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh accepted his side fell below the required standard in Monday’s 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury but he was pleased with their battling qualities in grinding out an important point.
Northampton struggled to find any fluency throughout Saturday’s often ragged and disjointed encounter, something only accentuated by red cards to David Buchanan and John-Joe O’Toole.
But after Marc Richards’ first-half header was cancelled out by Matt Sadler, they dug in to repel Shrewsbury’s pressure and cling onto a crucial point in their battle against relegation.
“I’m a bit disappointed because I don’t think it was a vintage performance in terms of the football we were hoping to play and to produce,” conceded Edinburgh.
“We’ve been involved in a lot of big games against top sides of late and we’ve been the underdog but today it was roles reserved and I didn’t feel we dealt with that favourite tag very well.
“The quality in possession was not where we want to be.
“I thought the goal would allow us to take the game by the scruff of the neck and to collect three points but it didn’t really settle us and I felt there was a tinge of nervousness in our play.
“Credit to Shrewsbury because they’re fighting for their lives. They pressed without really hurting us and I thought we defended our box really well but we didn’t get a foothold in the middle of the park.
“It was a good goal but it was the only bit of real quality we produced today.”
Northampton’s cause was hardly aided by the referee who controversially sent off both Buchanan and O’Toole in the second-half.
Edinburgh added: “You could say it was poor from Buchs but personally I think the referee has been conned. The first one I understand but from then on the opposition player was trying to be quite clever.
“You could say that was good play from Shrewsbury or poor decision-making from the ref and I believe it’s the latter because the player kept throwing himself into David who was quite clearly standing his ground and not committing fouls.
“The referee’s bought it.
“It’s the same with John-Joe and I’m not too convinced that either were red cards.”