Cobblers show 'winning mentality' as they grind their way to Grimsby victory - verdict, reaction and highlights

It's fair to say the Cobblers' 2-0 win over Grimsby Town on Saturday is not one that will live long in the memory of anybody who was there to see it.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 12:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 12:33 pm
Vadaine Oliver celebrates his goal (Pictures: Pete Norton)

It's one that won't feature too heavily in the end-of-season DVD, with excitement and off-your-seat entertainment in short supply on a cold and wet afternoon at the PTS Academy Stadium.

But it was another example of how Keith Curle's team is continuing along it's journey of becoming something of a winning machine, even when not at their best - and that is a great trait to have.

The victory over the managerless Mariners was the Cobblers fifth in their past six Sky Bet League Two games - with the other one the draw at Oldham Athletic when Town led 2-0 going into the closing stages.

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Since losing 3-0 at Scunthorpe United on October 12, Town have claimed 16 points out of a possible 18, and have gone from a team struggling in the bottom half to one that is sitting fifth in Sky Bet League Two, just two points off the top three and within five points of frontrunners Swindon Town.

It's a run of results that surely means Keith Curle is a shoo-in for the November manager of the month?

And it's also getting perilously close to the stage when Town can be officially tagged 'genuine promotion challengers'.

Since a summer heavy on change and recruitment, boss Curle has made it clear that promotion is his and his squad's target for this season, and after a sluggish start when the team took time to gel, they look to be really hitting their stride.

The team is developing a hunger for winning matches, a desire to dig in and deny the opposition, even in spells when they are being outplayed, and a habit of taking their chances when they come along.

They weren't great against Grimsby on Saturday, but they were good enough - and once they went in front through Scott Wharton on 25 minutes, they looked comfortable, particularly in a second half they dominated.

The word clinical is not one that has been able to be applied to many Cobblers teams since the title winners of 2016, but it certainly applies to this team at the moment.

Curle has often spoken about his players developing a 'need to win' mentality - and he feels they are now getting close to realising that ambition.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle

And that it is the players who have to take a lot of the credit for that.

"It is something that gets talked about in the changing room," said the boss when asked about his team's current winning mentality.

"Having that feeling that you prefer it when you win games to when you don't win games, doesn't make you a winner.

"It is what you do through the week, what you do on Saturday afternoons, that is what gives you the opportunity to be a winner.

Scott Wharton shows his delight after scoring the Cobblers' first goal

"That is what we are working on. It's about good habits, good planning, good preparation, attention to detail and that camaraderie you have within the group.

"If one person is loose then they he gets pulled back into line, and that is the message you need within squads, and within the team.

"You need that team ethic and everybody has got to be on the same page. They have to face their disappointments, face their frustrations, face their annoyance and channel it in the right way.

"Because how I am as a manager and a coach, next week that person could be starting."

The Cobblers can now put the Sjy Bet League Two campaign to one side for a couple of weeks, as they turn their attention to the FA Cup next Sunday against Notts County and then travel to Portsmouth in the Trophy two days later.

Their next league outing is a trip to fourth-placed Exeter City, and that is certainly a place where that winning menality will be tested to the full.