Revealed: The secrets behind Cobblers’ set-piece success

Sam Foley heads in another set-piece goal for the Cobblers. Picture: Pete Norton
Sam Foley heads in another set-piece goal for the Cobblers. Picture: Pete Norton

Cobblers once again illustrated their set-piece prowess on Saturday when Sam Foley headed home Scott Pollock’s corner to earn a point against Mansfield Town.

Town have looked a constant threat from dead ball situations ever since Keith Curle took over as manager at the start of October, with six of their last 10 goals scored from either a corner or a free-kick.

And rather than being a coincidence, their set-piece success is the product of hard graft on the training field where Curle and his coaching staff regularly conjure up new, wacky routines in an attempt to catch opponents by surprise.

“It all comes from training,” defender Jordan Turnbull explains. “We did set-pieces on Friday before the game and we worked up a good four or five different routines to go through for Saturday’s game.

“The goal we scored was from one of them and it came off on the day. We all just piled on the edge of the box and sprinted into different zones as quickly as we could. We looked to get on the end of it and Fols did that.

“We work on it enough throughout the week and each time we try something different. It’s just anything to disrupt the other team and if it comes off in the game, then brilliant.

The manager always has something up his sleeve on a Friday so we’ll look forward to something different this week!

Jordan Turnbull

“We’ve been fantastic from set-pieces this season and scored a lot of goals so obviously it works and we’ll keep trying to come up with new routines and and keep trying to score from them.

“The manager always has something up his sleeve on a Friday so we’ll look forward to something different this week!”

Not only do Cobblers practise hard at perfecting set-piece routines each week, Curle also revealed they have a name for every one to avoid confusion, adding: “We have names for them. The one for the goal on Saturday was the Red Arrows.

“It’s a spearhead formation and we have two variations of another one when they meet in the middle and fan out while other times they cross over to the other side. That one’s called Constantina.”

Pollock was the man who delivered the corner for Foley to head in during Saturday’s 1-1 draw and he added: “We’ve worked a lot in training on set-piece routines and I’m glad it paid off in the game.

“I looked to whip it in hoping someone could get on the end of it and luckily it worked. You have to time it right and it all comes from hard work on the training pitch.”