Cobblers’ performance at Oldham Athletic on the final day of the season was a small insight into how manager Keith Curle wants his team to play when the new campaign gets up and running in August.
Despite conceding early to Johan Branger-Engone’s fine finish, Town were the dominant force at Boundary Park and deservedly came away with a thumping 5-2 victory to finish their campaign on a high note.
We want to play a high tempo game and we want to play in the opposition’s half – those are the fundamentals of what we want to do.
Sam Hoskins’ thunderbolt drew the visitors level and then Aaron Pierre headed them into a 2-1 lead before Andy Williams struck either side of half-time with his 11th and 12th goals of the campaign.
Callum Lang pulled one back for the Latics but Junior Morias scored with his first touch, finishing off a flowing move 10 minutes from time, to give Cobblers fans something to cheer about heading into the summer.
Whilst the squad will have a new-look come August, Town’s energetic and enterprising performance at Boundary Park was perhaps an indication as to how Curle sees his side playing on a regular basis next season.
“We want to play a high tempo game and we want to play in the opposition’s half – those are the fundamentals of what we want to do,” said the Cobblers boss.
“It’s about players identifying and picking the right options at the right times and sometimes you have to learn from your mistakes.
“Even in the first-half on Saturday, there were times when we could have got in behind them during the first-half and that would have got us on the front foot.
“When you’re playing football, there’s nothing better than being on the front foot because it sets the tone and you’re putting good balls in behind teams and the back four squeezes up so if the ball bypasses the midfield the defence is on the front foot.
“You can then have wave after wave of attack and if you put the ball into the final third enough, you will get reward.”
Cobblers scored more goals from set-pieces than almost any other team in League Two this season and dead ball situations will continue to form an important part of Curle’s game plan in 2019/20.
“If you’re not able to get clear strikes at goal or crosses into the box, we want to earn a lot of throws and corners and then we need to be creative,” he added.
“We need to be brave and clinical and I think we’ve scored 40 odd per cent of our goals from set-pieces but that’s something we work at and you find a lot of teams and a lot of players get a bit disinterested when you do set-piece routines on a Thursday and a Friday.
“The more we do them now, it’ll become standard practise and that’s something we need to grow because games can and will be won on set-pieces next season.”