Relief of Williams' late winner doesn't gloss over the negatives for boss Curle
Cobblers boss Keith Curle felt his side should have had the points sewn up long before Andy Williams' dramatic stoppage-time winner against Stevenage on New Year's Day.
Town were never at their best against rock-bottom Boro but still had enough chances to be comfortable by half-time, with visiting stopper Paul Farman denying Vadaine Oliver, Charlie Goode and Sam Hoskins in the first period.
The game deteriorated in the second-half and a goalless draw looked inevitable until Wiliams raced through on goal and drilled past the despairing dive of Farman in the 94th minute.
"That's the beauty of being a centre-forward - you get one chance and you put it away and all the headlines are about you," said Curle.
"It's always nice to have forward-thinking options on the bench but I thought we created enough chances today to win the game earlier and make it a more comfortable afternoon.
"That started with the chance in the first minute and that's something we work on in training with Vadaine because we know we've got good crossing ability.
'"He made good contact but head it down and you'll score and that might have affected Vadaine because he was disappointed and for 15 minutes he started playing how I don't like him playing, which is standing still.
"We got that out of him at half-time and he became that aerial threat again, on the move and winning headers and getting us on the front foot."
Despite winning the game and returning to the play-off places, Curle accepted his side were not at their best.
"There's lots of pleasing things to come out of the game but there's still an air of frustration as well because we can do certain things better," he added.
"We need to be more clinical and take more care of the ball in the opposition's half because we gave it away too cheaply at times, but that's something we'll work on and it comes with coaching, educating and showing the players and ultimately improving them."