Cobblers’ lack of cutting edge frustrates boss Hasselbaink

YET TO SCORE: Kevin van Veen's arrival in January generated much excitement but, two months later, he still hasn't scored for the Cobblers. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
YET TO SCORE: Kevin van Veen's arrival in January generated much excitement but, two months later, he still hasn't scored for the Cobblers. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits his side need to start creating and scoring more chances after they again failed to hit the net in Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Fleetwood Town.

Only Rochdale and Bury, both of whom have games in hand, have managed fewer than Northampton’s 35 goals this season, with only two of those goals coming in their past five outings.

The main reason for their lowly league position, Town’s struggles in the final third were once again evident during Saturday’s defeat to Fleetwood despite their wealth of attacking options with Kevin van Veen, Boris Mathis, Kevin Luckassen and Chris Long all on the pitch at various stages.

The Cobblers hardly peppered Alex Cairns’ goal throughout the game, managing just a solitary shot on target, and even when they started the second-half on the front foot and seemed to be building up a head of steam, it quickly fizzled out and Fleetwood easily saw the game out.

Hasselbaink said afterwards: “When you have pressure and the upper-hand, you need to score and you have to punish the other team. We didn’t do that and I don’t know why.

“We had enough numbers in the box and enough people arriving in there and it’s for somebody to take that pressure off us.

When you have pressure and the upper-hand, you need to score and you have to punish the other team. We didn’t do that and I don’t know why.

“At the end of the first-half, we had the best chance of the game and I think we created the best chances but it’s about putting the ball in the net and you have to be calm to do so.”

Van Veen squandered Northampton’s best two chances, clearing the crossbar and then neither finding the net nor strike partner Kevin Luckassen when slipped in by Hildeberto Pereira.

“That’s the corner we’re in at the moment,” added Hasselbaink. “We can’t sorry for that and we need to keep going because we have seven matches left and we have to find wins.

“There are still 21 points to play for and that’s a lot of points so we need to find wins and keep clean sheets and that’s been our difficulty throughout the year.

“That we created chances was a plus. Obviously we need to score them but at least we created them.”

While Town’s issues in attack were one of the main talking points from Saturday’s game at the Highbury Stadium, there were also problems at the other end where they conceded two soft goals, scored by Kyle Dempsey on 18 minutes and Cian Bolger in the closing stages.

“You can talk about systems and tactics but that goes out of the window when you have a throw-in. A throw-in is a throw-in and if you don’t pick up your man and you don’t react after you’ve lost the ball, you’re going to get done and we got done,” continued Hasselbaink.

“It’s the same with the corner for the second goal. The ball went in, it bounces around and we are not the first one to the ball. We need to be the first ones to the ball in both boxes and that’s the problem at the moment.”