Keith Curle was delighted with the ‘attitude, bravery and application’ on display from his side during their defeat to Forest Green Rovers on New Year’s Day, and he also praised several individual performances.
The Cobblers produced one of their better away performances of late and looked good for a deserved point until the 94th minute when Theo Archibald’s shot found its way past visiting ‘keeper David Cornell.
We got our distances right, we were competitive and we caused them problems. We gave them something else to think about and that upset them in terms of how they wanted to play.
That came only moments after Sam Hoskins missed a fine chance to win it for the Cobblers, who responded impressively to George Williams’ second-minute opener as Sam Foley brought them level during a strong second-half display.
“It was a very competitive game,” said Curle. “We played against a side that are building a reputation of being a passing team but I thought we more than competed on the passing stakes.
“We earned the right to get territorial advantage because we were brave in stopping them from playing and getting the flow into their game and at times we upset their rhythm and caused them problems.
“I thought we were on the front foot in the second-half and the freshness of the players coming in showed and dominated because a lot of times we were on the move and caught them flat-footed and broke off them.
“It’s an emotional game and there’s nothing worse than conceding a goal right in the last minute but there’s lots of positives we can take out of it.
“It remains a learning curve for the players and my coaching staff but the attitude, the application, the bravery and the willingness to get the ball down and compete were all very good.”
Curle has not always been overly thrilled by his side’s performances over the last month or so, but despite the result, he saw plenty of positives individually.
He added: “Jay Williams gave a very good performance and Sam Foley, who’s been out of the fold for a couple of games, gave a solid performance. He was on the front foot, he won challenges and he covered ground and Matt Crooks gave glimpses of what he’s about, earning the right to go and play in the final third but also doing a job out of possession.
“The back three did well, Jordan Turnbull, Ash Taylor and Shay Facey all did their jobs and gave us a platform.”
Both teams on New Year’s Day looked to play out from the back, which led to some curious tactics. Curle continued: “They like to play out from goal-kicks and that gets them a tempo and a rhythm into their game so this was probably the first time I’ve had to mark their goalkeeper from goal-kicks!
“To do that, at times we wad to play three versus five at the back but we had to make them kick it long and turn it into our type of game. It was brave but I thought it worked and if you’re going to stick balls up in the air, I fancy Jordan, Ash and Shay to be very competitive.
“We got our distances right, we were competitive and we caused them problems. We gave them something else to think about and that upset them in terms of how they wanted to play.”
Curle also revealed that Aaron Pierre and Shaun McWilliams missed the game with injuries.