Austin happy with pre-season progress after Cobblers impress in Barnet win

POSITIVE NIGHT: Cobblers boss Dean Austin praised his team's performance in their 3-0 win over Barnet on Tuesday. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds
POSITIVE NIGHT: Cobblers boss Dean Austin praised his team's performance in their 3-0 win over Barnet on Tuesday. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

Manager Dean Austin was pleased with the way his Cobblers team stepped their performance level up another notch on Tuesday evening when they easily overcame National League side Barnet at the PTS Academy Stadium.

Dominant from the word go, Town were two goals to the good inside half-an-hour and Sam Hoskins was involved in both as his inviting cross was nodded home by Andy Williams before he deftly finished off a superb team move, steering Matt Crooks' exquisite through ball into the bottom corner.

The Cobblers could easily have scored more by the time Billy Waters added a sensational late third as his sweet volley rocketed off bar and post before nestling into the net.

"It was an encouraging performance," said Austin afterwards. "I thought we had some very good play, particularly in the first-half, so I'm very pleased.

"We're working hard on all facets of our game and we've got a lot of options and a good squad and there's also a lot of adaptability in the team.

"You're not going to control any game of football for 90 minutes so sometimes it's about trying to control the game without the ball as well as with it.

"The most pleasing thing is to see your strikers get on the score sheet. Willo's header was a good finish and the second goal was as good a team goal as you're going to see because there were 17 passes before we put it into the net, and then the third goal is just an unbelievable strike from Billy."

Tuesday's victory means Town have now won all five pre-season friendlies so far ahead of their final outing against a Manchester United XI this Friday, though Austin revealed he's hoping to add another game to the schedule.

He added: "Pre-season has been very good and we're edging our way closer to the level we want to be but we won't really be up and running until the first couple of weeks of the season.

"I'm trying to get another game in-between the first two league games just to make sure everyone will get to the optimal fitness level because we're going to need everyone in the squad."