Defender Jordan Turnbnull accepts that Cobblers fans have every right to feel frustrated with how their team have performed at home this season but he says booing ‘doesn’t help’ following Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Oxford United.
Despite having to make do with just one point, Turnbull was in relatively positive mood after the game and came away feeling his side should take heart from their overall performance.
The 0-0 final scoreline may give the impression that this was a typically tight, cagey derby affair between two struggling teams low on confidence, but that was far from the case.
In the first-half, most of the running was made by Northampton who could have been out of sight by the break had Chris Long taken either of his two golden opportunities in a bright opening 20-minute spell, shanking over when well-placed and then sliding just wide from a similar position, while the game’s outstanding player, midfielder Matt Crooks, also went close.
But the home side’s failure to convert chances into goals meant they came under pressure in the closing stages when Oxford, who also had their moments in the first 45 minutes, pushed for a winner themselves, almost finding it through Wes Thomas who headed off target in the clearest opening of the entire game late on.
“It was a let-off for us,” admitted Turnbull on United’s late chance. “We knew that Oxford are a strong team and they have quality players around the park but I think that’s credit to us for playing well and imposing the game on them.
“They had a chance at the end but every team will get chances and we managed to limit them to few chances and thankfully he missed the target at the end.”
The major talking point after the game related to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s post-match comments when the Town manager criticised the fans who booed his team off at the full-time whistle.
“Everyone is frustrated, the players included,” said Turnbull. “There’s pressure on all of us and we’re in a difficult situation which we’re trying our hardest to get out of.
“What I will say is that the boos don’t help as much. We totally understand that everyone is frustrated but we go out there and try to perform every week and look to win as many games as possible.”
What I will say is that the boos don’t help as much. We totally understand that everyone is frustrated but we go out there and try to perform every week and look to win as many games as possible.
“We wanted to put in a good performance on for the fans. We know we were below-par in the last two games and we hoped the result would come with a better performance.
“In large parts of the game I thought we performed really well. Of course Oxford had parts when they controlled the ball but overall we deserved a little bit more than a draw.”
Despite being let off the hook by Thomas, there could be no doubt that this display was a clear improvement on what the Cobblers had produced against Rochdale or Gillingham, particularly first-half, though a draw was not the desired outcome.
“We feel disappointed,” added Turnbull. “It was a home game and we wanted to win it. I thought we created some really good chances but it was one of those days where we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“We did well and got a clean sheet and we’re happy with that side of the game but unfortunately we didn’t get the goal that I thought we deserved.”
Creating chances has been a problem for Northampton for much of the campaign but it was finishing them off which plagued them on Saturday as Long, Crooks, Sam Hoskins and John-Joe O’Toole all threatened.
“I don’t think players are nervous,” continued Turnbull. “Longy and John-Joe and other players are the top of the pitch are confident enough.
“John-Joe has scored a lot of goals since I’ve been here and Chris is a very confident guy and on another day he’d stick a few goals in.
“But although they didn’t hit the back of the net, I think we played well and played well as a team and created enough chances but we just couldn’t take them.”