Northampton manager Keith Curle was thrilled with his side’s defensive resolve during their 1-0 victory over Joey Barton’s in-form Fleetwood.
The Cobblers were resilient and determined en route to just a second clean sheet of the season, with Cian Bolger’s first goal for the club shortly after half-time securing three points.
Having leaked goals for fun at the start of the campaign, it is now nearly 400 minutes since Northampton last conceded a Sky Bet League One goal from open play.
“I said in the week that we had to change our mentality for home games because, away from home, our attitude has been excellent in the last couple of matches,” said Curle.
“Yes, we know there are parts of our game that we need to do a lot better but the other side of the game is the discipline, the organisation, the willingness to work, the application and the understanding and they were all there tonight.
“The mentality of the players was first-class. Fleetwood are a very, very good team with some very good players and we had to have all those attributes I’ve just mentioned in abundance to nullify them and cause them problems from set-pieces.
“We knew we weren’t going to dominate possession of the ball so we had to keep our shape and be resolute and aggressive in our defending and compete all over the pitch. We did that very well.”
Barton’s team tasted just their third defeat in 11 games and he was full of praise for Northampton.
“You have to give credit to Curle and Northampton because they were well-organised and well-drilled,” Barton said.
“You know they’re not going to play an expansive style of football but they play to their strengths and they defended resolutely. Keith was an England international so you expect them to be solid and hard to break down.
“I thought they were superb. We kept probing and we kept pushing right until the very end of the game but they kept coming up with the answers defensively so credit to them, they deserved the three points.
“We were caught a bit cold with the goal. Set-pieces are a massive part of their threat. We had a little bit of a warning with the one just before but from the resulting corner Cian pops up and scores the goal.
“That gives them something to hold on to and we kept trying but couldn’t find a way through.
“We won’t have many nights like that where our offence will struggle like that because usually we find our way in, but that’s League One football and that’s why you pay big money for goalscorers.”
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