Barnett says Cobblers have to come to terms with being a prize scalp in league two

Leon Barnett in action during Tuesday's defeat at Morecambe (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Leon Barnett in action during Tuesday's defeat at Morecambe (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Defender Leon Barnett says the Cobblers are going to have to get used to handling being a prize scalp in league two following their relegation last season.

Town suffered a 1-0 defeat at Morecambe on Tuesday night, with the Shrimps claiming their first points of the season after four straight league and cup defeats.

No disrespect to them but we’re probably the bigger team having come down from the league above so they sat in as soon as they got their goal and that’s what teams will do

Cobblers defender Leon Barnett

It was an energetic performance from Jim Bentley’s side, who scored just before the break and then saw the game out to leapfrog the Cobblers in the Sky Bet League Two table.

The Cobblers struggled throughout and the team was criticised by manager Dean Austin for being ‘out-fought and out-worked’ by their hosts.

But Barnett believes Morecambe raised their game, and also ‘sat back’ to frustrate the Cobblers, and that is something Town are going to have to get used to.

“I give Morecambe credit,” said Barnett, who made his first league start of the season in the centre of defence, with Aaron Pierre rested.

“They started the game well and as soon as we had a phase when we were on top they sat back and I think we all expect teams to do that.

“No disrespect to Morecambe, but we’re probably the bigger team having come down from the league above.

“So they sat in as soon as they got their goal, and that’s what teams will do.

“We’re going to find it hard to break teams down, but I believe we have the quality in Kev (van Veen), Willo (Andy Williams) or whoever plays up top to find those magical positions and finish it off.

“We’re going through a tough patch at the moment but we’ll take the positives and move on”.

Town were backed by an excellent travelling support at the Globe Arena, with 230 making the long midweek trek to the north west, and he admitted he felt for them following the loss.

The Cobblers couldn’t even take advantage of the fact Morecambe were down to 10 men for the final 10 minutes or so, and with an outfield player in goal following shot-stopper Barry Roche’s dismissal for two yellow cards.

Shrimps midfielder Alex Kenyon went between the sticks and produced a clutch of saves to ensure his side claimed their first ever home win over the Cobblers, with the pick of them an effort to deny a Junior Morias shot from the edge of the box.

“It hurts us all and I know it hurts the fans after coming all this way,” said the former Bury defender.

“We’ll have games like that this season and we might be on the other end - we might nick a 1-0.

“It’s frustrating not to work the goalkeeper more, especially when they made the substitutions, but we’ve got to remain positive and things will definitely come right - I have no doubt about that.”

Barnett will now be hoping he has done enough to keep his place in the Town backline for Saturday’s trip to Colchester United.

“That’s not down to me, it’s down to the gaffer and the staff,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ll monitor it all and make a decision.

“As far as I know I’ve come in to play and I try and do my best for the team.”