Brady doesn't regret the way Cobblers approached the second-half at Barrow

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Town looked to protect their 3-1 lead but it was not enough for promotion

Cobblers boss Jon Brady did not regret the way his side approached the second-half against Barrow on Saturday despite their 3-1 victory ultimately not being enough to clinch automatic promotion.

Sam Hoskins scored a brace either side of Fraser Horsfall’s header as Town raced into a 3-0 lead with only 21 minutes played at Holker Street, seemingly putting them on course for promotion.

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However, Barrow ended the first-half on top and pulled one goal back through Josh Kay before they dominated most of the second-half. It was only in the last few minutes, when news filtered through of Bristol Rovers’ seventh goal against Scunthorpe, that Cobblers went all out for another goal.

Jon Brady.Jon Brady.
Jon Brady.

They did have chances but Paul Farman denied Hoskins and Chanka Zimba nodded wide and that meant Brady’s side lost out to Rovers on goals scored.

There was some suggestion that Cobblers could and should have gone for the kill when 3-0 up and beaten Barrow by a bigger margin to make Rovers' task virtually impossible.

But the Bluebirds named close to a full-strength team and fought back well, particularly after a couple of tactical tweaks by manager Phil Brown around the half-hour mark.

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"Let's have it right, Barrow played a full-strength side and they played well,” said Brady.

"They are a good team. No-one, since Phil Brown took them over, has gone 3-0 up at their place. No team has done that.

"I don't think any team has even beaten at their place since Phil came in so we need to give them the full respect they deserve.

"They pressed us back but we had gone 3-0 up and we also had our chances near the end as well to win by more. There were a couple of really good chances."

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Hoskins missed a good chance to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-1 in the closing stages, denied by Farman, although even if Cobblers had scored, Rovers still had time to net another themselves.

In the end, they played keep-ball for the final few minutes knowing that a 7-0 scoreline was sufficient for promotion.

"It’s easy with hindsight but we started so well and went 3-0 up,” said Hoskins. "Even after conceding just before half-time, we were still comfortable.

"We knew there would be a lot of defending to do in the second-half but we did our job and we can't control another team losing 7-0 or another team winning 7-0.

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"I did have a late chance and it's annoying to look back on it but we have still won the game 3-1 and before you would have thought that would be enough.

"Obviously it wasn't but there's no point dwelling on it too much because we still have a job to do and the aim remains the same – to go and get promoted.

"It's disappointing but we have done all we can. We came here to win, we won but now it's time to focus on the play-offs.”