Edinburgh confident Cobblers are still on the right track despite Bolton setback

UPBEAT: Justin Edinburgh took plenty of heart from Saturday's performance at Bolton. Pictures: Sharon Lucey

UPBEAT: Justin Edinburgh took plenty of heart from Saturday's performance at Bolton. Pictures: Sharon Lucey

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The result ended his team’s best winning run of the season but Justin Edinburgh had every reason to take great encouragement from Northampton’s valiant 2-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Only a touch of quality from the high-flying Trotters coupled with some debatable refereeing decisions denied the Cobblers what would have been their best result of the season after arguably their best performance.

It was by no means a solely defensive effort either, and Northampton always carried an attacking threat, exemplified by Michael Smith’s fine finish on 56 minutes after Zander Diamond had hit the crossbar.

And despite Bolton’s late fightback, partly helped by three contentious decisions from the officials, Edinburgh took plenty of heart from his side’s display.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the response the group of players have given me,” said the Town manager.

“They gave me everything on Saturday. To go to Bolton and put on a performance and really take a team who started the day in third position to the wire, I thought it was a credit to everyone connected to the club.

“The progression we’re making is pleasing but it’s still hard to take that we’ve left with nothing.

“We’ll dust ourselves down and look forward to another big game next week.”

Edinburgh expressed his frustrations with Richard Clark at full-time on Saturday after feeling the referee had been responsible for denying his side a precious draw, if not more.

Clark opted to award Bolton a harsh penalty for an apparent handball against Matty Taylor, allowing Adam Le Fondre to level from the spot and get the home side back in the game, before he then turned down an equally valid shout for Northampton.

To go to Bolton and put on a performance and really take a team who started the day in third position to the wire, I thought it was a credit to everyone connected to the club.

There was then further drama in stoppage time when, following Filipe Morais’ 82nd minute strike, John-Joe O’Toole’s 95th minute leveller was chalked off after a late albeit correct offside flag.

Edinburgh added: “The goal was executed excellently and it came at a really good time but unfortunately we weren’t able to see it out, but that wasn’t through anything other than key decisions going against us.

“I’ll speak to him because I think he’s a decent referee but the game has come down to three key decisions.

“One he’s got right, or his assistant has, and the other two he’s got wrong. They are big calls and if you making one, you have to be consistent and I don’t think he was.

“I’ll speak with him because it’s the right thing to do. I won’t go in there and get myself in trouble but taking the frustration out of it, I’d like to see his view.

“I’ve had the luxury of seeing the footage again, he won’t be able to do that until he gets home, but it’s not going to change anything now but he’ll realise he’s made the wrong call.”

Another positive to come out of Saturday was Brendan Moloney’s late cameo, his first appearance for the Cobblers since November.

“It was good to get him out there and get him some match fitness,” continued Edinburgh.

“Hopefully that’ll continue and he’ll be involved between now and the end of the season.”