Curle 'encouraged' by Cobblers' display in Grecians defeat
Cobblers' excellent unbeaten run might have come to a disappointing end at the hands of Exeter City on Saturday but manager Keith Curle still came away feeling 'encouraging' by his side's performance at St James Park.
Town hadn't lost in the league since slipping to a tepid 3-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United on October 12, winning five of six games ahead of their long trip to Devon on Saturday.
But, despite Charlie Goode's opening goal on 33 minutes, there was to be no seventh successive league game undefeated as Randall Williams, Aaron Martin and Alex Fisher all netted for the home side.
Sam Hoskins' terrific solo effort gave late hope of a comeback but it wasn't to be for the Cobblers, who have slipped to seventh in Sky Bet League Two.
Nevertheless, Curle was relatively upbeat about his side's showing at St James Park and the way they gave an impressive Exeter side a difficult afternoon.
"We made them wobble," he said. "We asked them questions and had we got that second goal it might have been a completely different story.
'But you've got to give them credit. They've got some good players who can open doors and do different things - like Williams and (Nicky) Laws - and they're deservedly at the top end of the division.
"But likewise, we also had some good performances during the game. There's an air of disappointment because we thought we did enough to get a point out of the game."
The Cobblers were the better team before half-time and deserved the lead when skipper Goode struck, however failure to take any of their other opportunities came back to haunt them during an out-of-sorts second-half display.
"The disappointing thing is that, when we had them wobbled and we were asking them questions, we needed to be a little bit more clinical," Curle added.
"We were on the front foot and then we finished the game on the front foot. They were mightily pleased when the whistle went because our lads would have carried on and we won't give up.
"But we're not far away. We were playing against a good team that have a very good home record and we wobbled them.
"The players are disappointed because they were very proud of the run they've been on but we know we've played against a good team with good players.
"That's encouraging and we put enough balls into their box and had things gone slightly differently, we could have been 2-0 up and it's a different story and maybe we could have gone on to score three or four."