Curle: Cobblers made high-flying Mansfield ‘look average’

Keith Curle. Picture: Pete Norton
Keith Curle. Picture: Pete Norton

Promotion-chasing Mansfield Town were made to look ‘average’ by the Cobblers during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the PTS, according to manager Keith Curle and defender Jordan Turnbull.

The Stags made the trip to Northampton sitting second in Sky Bet League Two and boasting the best defensive record in the division as they looked to continue their promotion challenge following back-to-back victories over Exeter City and Cambridge United.

This is not being disrespectful but I thought we made them look average. They are a reliable and consistent team and they are a threat but I thought we matched them and we were on the front foot.

But they never got going against Town and were fortunate to be ahead at half-time after a first period in which they were second best, with Mal Benning’s early corner somehow finding its way into David Cornell’s net.

That was Mansfield’s only shot on target though the game - if it can even be classed as a shot - as Sam Foley’s header from a Scott Pollock corner earned a deserved share of the points for mid-table Cobblers.

“This is not being disrespectful but I thought we made them look average,” said Curle. “They are a reliable and consistent team and they are a threat but I thought we matched them and we were on the front foot.

“We had some performances that worried them. The challenge for the changing room was to go up against a team second in league and the players had to accept that challenge, enjoy it and go and face it head on. We did that, individually and collectively.”

Turnbull, who returned to defence on Saturday having mostly played in midfield this season, echoed the thoughts of his manager and felt the Cobblers should have been disappointed not to have won the game.

“I think we can be disappointed to come away with a point,” he added. “We’re unhappy with the goal we conceded because it came from a set-piece and that’s something we’ll have to look at.

“But throughout the game I thought we were solid, we were on the attack and our strikers did brilliantly to upset their defence so it’s disappointing that we couldn’t take all three points.

“We did well all over the pitch, especially Scotty in midfield because he helped break up play with Foles and the two strikers upset their defenders and I felt we were solid at the back so it was quite a comfortable afternoon for us.

“We didn’t have many clear-cut chances and that’s what we can work on but the performance is something we can build on.”