Brady says Cobblers have 'learned harsh lessons' after three wins in a week - review, reaction and highlights

'Sometimes you need go through those harsh lessons to learn and get better. We've said that we are a new group and that's because we are a new group and we're learning all the time.'

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 2:28 pm
Jon Brady and his coaching staff got their tactics spot on against Tranmere. Picture: Pete Norton.

Whilst the Cobblers had been going along steadily prior Saturday's trip to Tranmere Rovers, it felt as if they were still in need of a statement performance and result.

They had won games more through pragmatism, hard graft and defensive resilience rather than outright domination, out-battling teams instead of outplaying them.

But that all changed with a brilliant second-half display at Prenton Park on Saturday as Town not only eased to three impressive points, they outclassed strong, in-form opponents in the process.

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"I had a look at the stats and they had one shot on target but I can't even remember what that was," said manger Jon Brady afterwards.

"We were brave all over the pitch in what we did and how we did it and to come to a team that everyone has been raving about and not give them a goalscoring opportunity, it's very pleasing.

"I think it's lessons learned from Hartlepool away because we didn't relent. We condensed the play and we didn't give them any space and any room to move and that was polar opposite to Hartlepool."

It's worth a reminder: Tranmere were unbeaten in eight games in all competitions going into this one. They sat fifth in the league and had won five of six at home, conceding only two goals along the way.

And yet they were completely submerged by the relentless Cobblers, who pressed and hassled Rovers into oblivion. If ever a 2-0 could be considered a battering, this was it.

Since dropping to 14th in the table following a crushing defeat at Hartlepool two weeks ago, Northampton have won three, conceded zero and leapt all the way up to third.

"We learned the harshest lesson from that Hartlepool game," Brady added. "I feel the boys proved to themselves today what can be done if you are relentless doing what we do and keep doing the things that are key for us.

"Sometimes you need go through those harsh lessons to learn and get better. We've said that we are a new group and that's because we are a new group and we're learning all the time.

"We, as staff, are learning about the group and learning what they can do and how far they are able to really stretch themselves and this is a good day for us."

The first-half was cagey for the most part but Town still enjoyed the better moments with Kion Etete inches away from converting Mitch Pinnock's cross and Ali Koiki making the wrong decision when the visitors had four-on-two on the counter-attack.

But it was in the second-half when Brady's team really came to life. They started with a bang, Paul Lewis and Sam Hoskins both going close, and eventually their good play led to Etete thumping home a sweet first-time finish from Pinnock's exquisite pass.

And what happened next was perhaps the most impressive aspect of their performance.

So many Northampton teams in the past have sat on leads, invited pressure and ultimately conceded an equaliser. But there was not a hint of that on Merseyside. Instead, the chances continued to rain down on Tranmere's goal.

Hoskins' clinically-dispatched penalty was the very least they deserved. Lewis missed a glaring chance to make it three while Hoskins himself could have had a hat-trick, clipping the crossbar with one particularly clever effort.

It's no exaggeration to say this could have been five or six.

"It felt like a strong performance and we controlled the game," said Brady. "I never felt any pressure from them at all.

"It's a long season and there will be more ups and downs but today is a good day."