Curle: First-half display shows Cobblers are going in the right direction

Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Cobblers boss Keith Curle believes his side’s first-half performance against Stevenage was proof that they are heading in the ‘right direction’, despite the disappointing second-half that followed.

Northampton adapted well to the awful conditions in the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s League Two clash as rain lashed down and a howling wind swept across the ground on a bitterly cold afternoon at the PTS Stadium.

It’s coming and you can tell there’s a belief in what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to create. People are getting on board and that’s the pleasing thing for me.

Without creating a mass of chances, the Cobblers posed a consistent threat on Paul Farman’s goal and struck right at the death of the opening period through Dean Bowditch’s 46th minute strike.

But their control of possession wavered in the second period as Stevenage saw more of the ball and carried a greater threat with Ben Kennedy levelling 15 minutes from time.

There was no response from the hosts thereafter as both teams had to make do with a point, but despite it being seen as a missed opportunity by many, Curle was encouraged by what he witnessed in the first-half.

“In the first-half, it was a vast improvement and shows we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “But we need to be able to maintain that and have a game understanding to last the 90 minutes.

“Good teams can win 1-0 and I don’t mind winning 1-0 but if I have the opportunity to win by two or three and entertain, I’d like to do that.

“But it’s coming and you can tell there’s a belief in what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to create. People are getting on board and that’s the pleasing thing for me.”

Kennedy’s goal was Stevenage’s only shot in target in the entire game as Cobblers limited their visitors to very few, if any, clear chances. Only a slip from goalkeeper David Cornell prevented back-to-back clean sheets.

Curle added: “Part and parcel of what we’re trying to do is nullify the threat of the opposition and then give ourselves a good opportunity to get a foothold in the game. I thought we did that.

“Some of our pass selection and pass options in the final third was disappointing, but we see it as a point gained.

“We started the day eight points off the play-offs, now we’re seven. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns, but there’s a mentality in the dressing room that we’re learning.”