Northampton Town Podcast – Crewe Defeat – This week Charles, Chessie and Danny try to work out just what went wrong as Northampton Town lose easily to Crewe Alexandra.
Let me start by saying I hate losing. I’ve only ever walked out of a match before the final whistle once. We were playing away at Tranmere Rovers several years ago and we got stuffed 4, maybe even 5, nil. I’d taken my girlfriend and her brother to the game and I was embarrassed by what I’d witnessed.
I left the ground that day and stood, leaning against the outside wall of the away end, fuming.
I’ve never done it again. Even when we have played just as bad as that time we lost to Tranmere. Even when we’ve definitely played worse.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that I wouldn’t have left the game with Crewe Alexandra on Saturday early if I had been there.
If we had held on at the end and not conceded in the 93rd minute I may have even applauded the team off the pitch.
The Cobblers didn’t play well on Saturday. There is no getting away from it. But if they had come away with a draw I wouldn’t have boo’d the players or written a tirade of abuse on Twitter. Most likely I would have acknowledged the dogged, backs to the wall defending and moved on.
I’m not suggesting that the performance would have been acceptable if the result had been different. I just think that we would have put it down as a bad day at the office and looked for a much improved performance next time out.
As it happens, we didn’t get anything from the game. We didn’t deserve to get anything from it. Having taken the lead in the 3rd minute we had Crewe where we wanted them. They’re players were thinking: “oh no, not again!” We should have pushed on and pressed for a second goal. Instead we allowed Crewe to compose themselves and get back into the game.
There are a lot of opinions out there about why this happened and of course, a lot of them are blaming the manager and his tactics. Curle definitely got it wrong on Saturday and should have done more to change the situation at half time.
My personal opinion is that Curle has gone too far with the current defense first mindset. At the start of the season we were on the front foot a lot more and looking to cause problems for the opposition. It didn’t work too well though as we were awful at the back. Curle’s answer was to work on the defense and make it the focal point of his side’s performances. Whether you enjoyed watching it or not is by the by. It worked. Points began to be accumulated and games were won. It wasn’t pretty but Curle was vindicated by the results.
On Saturday it came back to hurt us though. We scored too early and gave ourselves far too long to have to try and defend the lead. At the 30 minute mark we were defending for our lives as you would expect to happen in the final minutes of the game, not before the first half is even close to ending.
So what’s next?
For me, Curle has to go back to the training ground and start working on the attacking side of the game. He can’t do this alone though. A balance must be struck between defence and attack. The old mantra of your best form of defence being attack has never been more true.
For what it’s worth, I believe that Curle will find that balance. It may not happen on a consistent basis but I’d expect the next couple of games, away at Oxford and home to Lincoln, to see The Cobblers pose much more of a threat than they have in recent weeks.
Curle isn’t done yet.
On this week’s podcast we discuss:
- Players or manager, who is to blame?
- Why isn’t Danny Rose getting a chance?
- The player pathway
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