Colchester United manager John McGreal admitted he could have no complaints over his side’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Northampton on Saturday, describing the game as their ‘hardest’ of the season so far.
The U’s boasted an unbeaten record prior to Saturday and had smashed six past Crewe in midweek but they were undone by second-half goals from Matt Crooks and Billy Waters as the Cobblers claimed their first victory of the season at the JobServe Community Stadium.
Northampton have found it tough at the minute but it was only a matter of time before they turned the corner with the quality players they’ve got and with a good budget in this league.
Aaron Pierre’s own goal deep into stoppage-time gave United a late lifeline but there was to be no way back as they slipped to their first loss of the campaign, pushing them down to sixth in Sky Bet League Two.
“It was a little bit after the Lord Mayor’s Show – we did so well against Crewe but it’s not just us that finds it difficult to follow up results,” McGreal told the Daily Gazette.
“You have to give the opposition credit as well and I thought for the first hour, Northampton did a good number on us. They came here with a good plan and they’re a good footballing team.
“I said that potentially that this could be our hardest game and it proved that. Northampton are a big team in our division – they’ve found it tough at the minute but it was only a matter of time before they turned the corner with the quality players they’ve got and with a good budget in this league.
“Even though we’ve been flying at the minute, we’ve still got to try and bridge these gaps with teams like this and we weren’t able to do it today.”
Colchester were limited to few chances in the first hour before Harry Pell forced a superb save from David Cornell and then Luke Norris headed against the crossbar.
McGreal added: “We changed the shape in the last 30 minutes and that brought a little bit more energy and had a couple of good opportunities.
“The keeper has made a couple of good saves and we hit the bar but then they had a bit of a breakaway and scored.
“Credit to the boys in that we got ourselves back into the game at 2-1 but you have to give the opposition a lot of credit today.”