McWilliams doesn't think nerves have got the better of Cobblers in defeats to rivals

Midfielder admits Town must find consistency before time runs out

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 10:50 am
Shaun McWilliams.

Shaun McWilliams does not believe it's a case of Cobblers struggling to deal with the pressure in the big games against their relegation rivals at the bottom of League One.

Town suffered another crushing defeat at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday when Joe Pigott scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute before Sam Hoskins missed a stoppage-time penalty.

Cobblers have now failed to win any of their last six matches against teams in League One's current bottom six, losing four, but their recent record versus sides higher up is much better having registered wins over Plymouth, Portsmouth and Oxford and picked up draws at Ipswich and Doncaster.

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However, McWilliams does not think nerves are getting the better of them.

"I wouldn't say that's the case," he said. "If you look at just the results, then yes, it does look like we pick up points when we're up against teams higher in the table and we're struggling against teams lower down, but that can happen.

"It all just boils down to the game. It was a bit of a fight (on Saturday) and they started off sharp and we adapted to their formation. It's different games and different styles but I wouldn't say that we shy away from the games against teams around us."

McWilliams and midfield partners Bryn Morris and Ryan Watson were outnumbered in the first-half at Plough Lane before Jon Brady switched to a diamond at the break.

The 22-year-old added: "Sometimes you can deal with it but they had good movement and they were causing us a lot of problems with their four against our three.

"We had to change formation at half-time and in the second-half we got to grips with it. We can still be better but I think we did get a bit more of the ball and calmed down because it was a bit hectic in the first 30 minutes."

Despite that, Town slipped to a painful late defeat.

"We need to bounce back quickly now," continued McWilliams. "We were fighting for a draw at the end but we need to go into the next game on the front foot and looking to cause problems as we've shown before.

"Games are running out and we need to be picking up points. We've been saying that for a long time now because when we win one, we struggle to back it up. We backed it up two weeks ago and that's what we need to do again, otherwise we're in for a very tough fight."