Cobblers boss Curle takes plenty of positives despite Trophy defeat to holders Portsmouth
An upbeat Keith Curle didn't let defeat detract from what he felt was a positive night for the Cobblers after they were knocked out of the Leasing.com Trophy by Portsmouth.
Up against in-form Sky Bet League One opposition and the trophy holders, Town were the superior side for much of the first-half at Fratton Park and few could begrudge them the lead when Michael Harriman nodded in Joe Martin's cross.
The home side inevitably improved as the game wore on though, and two goals either side of half-time, scored by Leon Maloney and Marcus Harness, took them through to round three.
It was a first defeat in nine for the Cobblers but Curle, who made eight changes for the game, felt it had been a productive evening for his team.
"I think there were plenty of positives," he said. "The attitude of the players was excellent and I cant fault their application and their willingness to take on board the information and adapt.
"It was very pleasing to take the lead and the major positive was to get some very good minutes and some very competitive minutes into players.
"We were always in the game and I think that shows the cohesion we've got within the whole squad whereby very quickly we can get a lot of players onto the same page.
"That's important and some of the fundamentals in our play were very good. I gave the players a slightly different gameplan because we knew the opposition we were coming up against.
"But we took a one-goal lead away from home and had a good share of possession - we could have been a bit better on the ball at times but overall I'm very pleased."