Gritty Cobblers delight Curle as Powell shows his class

Keith Curle was his usual vocal presence on the touchline during Tuesday's game. Picture: Getty.
Keith Curle was his usual vocal presence on the touchline during Tuesday's game. Picture: Getty.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle was delighted with the 'desire and character' of his players during Tuesday's win over Newport County as he hailed match-winner Joe Powell for providing the game's standout moment.

The match was heading for a 0-0 draw when Powell, only just on as a substitute, let fly with an unstoppable 25-yard volley that rifled into top corner via the crossbar two minutes from time.

That would be enough for Town to claim a fourth straight win and extend their unbeaten run to seven matches, lifting them into the top half of League Two and within six points of the play-offs.

Curle said: "As the game was panning out, it was one of those nights where both sets of players and both managers had set themselves out not to be intimidated and to make sure they were competitive.

"It was two teams who nullified each other and neither team wanted to take a backward step. Because of that, and because the emphasis was on trying to impose yourself on the opposition, sometimes the quality didn't shine through.

"We did get some opportunities but the intensity of our play in stopping the opposition detracted sometimes from when we had good possession of the ball.

"But the players showed the willingness, the desire and the character and one of the things I said to them before the game was that we have to make sure we don't lose any individual battle all over the park.

"I thought we competed very well and just lacked a little bit of quality but then Joe showed the one bit of quality to win the game - it was a fantastic goal. What a left peg, what a strike!"

Curle was also keen to praise the club's groundstaff for getting the PTS pitch in tip-top condition after a day of torrential rain.

He added: "I've got to mention the work the groundstaff have done to get this game on because they allowed us to train on the pitch yesterday, which was very much welcomed.

"We knew that would put them behind their schedule for preparing the pitch but the work they did to make sure it was on was exceptional and it's very much appreciated."