There were plenty of encouraging signs for Cobblers boss Rob Page during his first game in charge of the club on Saturday afternoon when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Fleetwood Town.
A Chris Neal own goal on nine minutes gave Page and his new-look team – which included six debutants – the dream start but a lack of cutting edge meant Northampton were unable to hold on to all three points.
The home side had their chances to put Fleetwood to bed with Marc Richards and Kenji Gorre going particularly close, but Victor Nirennold ensured the visitors didn’t leave Sixfields empty-handed.
However, despite evident disappointment at letting slip three points, Page was upbeat when speaking post-match, saying: “I thought there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.
“We’re disappointed we haven’t won because we had enough chances to win it.
“We created chances and we should have won the game but there were far more positives to come out of today than negatives and I’m really pleased with the start we’ve had.
“What I expect and what everyone expects here is for every player to go out and give 100 per cent and I can’t fault my players for that.
“They faded towards the end and they tired but I thought Rico and Revs up top work their socks off and naturally they were going to tire towards the end.
“We threw Sam (Hoskins) on out of position because I wanted to get him on with his pace and try and influence the game and stop their left-back from getting forward.
“I also thought we kept the ball well at times and Matty Taylor’s experience in the middle of the park dictated that for us because he knew when to play it short and when to stretch it.
“He hit some great little balls down the channels for them to kick it out and then we play from the throw-in higher up the pitch, and I thought we played some nice stuff at times as well.”
Page’s main criticism of his side’s performance was their lack of ruthlessness when the chances did arrive.
He added: “Can we be a bit more clinical and a bit more ruthless? And can we start the second-half like we did the first-half? Because that’s what we’ve got to do.
“They couldn’t cope with our tempo in the first 15 minutes but I didn’t see that tempo in the second-half, but that’s being really picky and there are a lot of positives from the lads and I’m pleased with their performance today.
“Every chance we get we’ve got to finish. Nobody tries to miss chances but normally the one that fell to Rico you’re waiting for the ball to hit the back of the net.
“But it’ll come. It’s only the first game and what’s pleasing is that they both got through the 90 minutes and there’s room for improvement.”