Cobblers boss Curle encouraged by display but rues early red

Keith CurleKeith Curle
Keith Curle
McWilliams' red on 18 minutes left Cobblers with a mountain to climb

Keith Curle rued Shaun McWilliams' early red card after his side's 2-0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

McWilliams saw red after just 18 minutes for a rash tackle on Reece James, although it took Rovers another 20 minutes to break the deadlock and it was a defensive mistake when it came.

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Tyreece John-Jules pounced on Mark Marshall's error to put Doncaster ahead, and then Joe Wright's headed second just shy of the hour-mark effectively put the result beyond doubt.

"I think the game was set up for us and it was quite evenly-matched until the sending off," said Curle.

"We all know we have jobs to do when it's 10 outfield players against 10 outfield players but you take a competitive player off the pitch and it gives us more work to do.

"But having said that, what did they have? Two shots and the penalty? The first goal is a gift. It's a good finish from the lad and he takes it well but it's gifted to him.

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"Apart from that, they didn't look like causing us any problems. We're coming up against some good teams this season who have their own styles of play and we want to be difficult to beat first and foremost.

"I thought we responded well to the sending off. We were always going to find it hard with a man down but we kept our discipline, we kept our shape and we frustrated them.

"It wasn't the spectacle we wanted to put on for the return of our fans but it was needs must after the sending off."