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MANAGER: We played some good football and the fans responded

John Sheridan on an entertaining afternoon at Brunton Park

11 August 2018

Manager John Sheridan gave us his reaction to the 2-2 home draw with Northampton Town shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m very pleased with the performance,” he said. “It’s disappointing that all we got was a point from it because I thought we did enough win it.

“It’s one you look and you know it’s the kind of performance, if we keep playing in that way, that will win us games going forward. If we play with that tempo and desire it’ll win us more games than we lose.

“We played really well at times. We just need to start to believe that we can pass the ball around, because we certainly can once we get going.

“One criticism is that sometimes we’re too slow and it can appear to be a bit negative. If we move it quickly we can get people like Hallam Hope and Jerry Yates into good areas further up the pitch, and that’s where we want them to be.”

“I felt we started the game well,” he told us. “We were getting into good areas in midfield and we were overloading them when we had the ball.

“I’ll say it again, we look a really good team when we pass it, and then we got a great goal from Jamie Devitt. We were on top of the game after he put that away and then I feel we do silly little things and our mindset just switches off sometimes.

“That can cost you, as we saw, and their goal came out of nothing, probably against the run of play. However, Northampton are a team that are always a threat because they’ve got players in Van Veen and Williams who were scoring goals at League One level.

“They’re a handful, but we coped with them quite well. Overall it’s a performance I’m really pleased with and a lot of credit goes to the players for the way they’ve gone about things.”

Speaking about the character shown as the Cobblers took a second half lead, he commented: “When they got their second goal it did put us on a bit of a downer. We reacted really well to it, because our heads could have gone, and that’s all you can ask for.

“We looked as though we were going to win the game and there was a lot of endeavour about us. It looked like we wanted to win the game, which was pleasing for me. You could tell the fans appreciated that and I think they liked the way we played as a whole.

“They aren’t stupid. The fans will be right behind us every week if we play like that, no matter what the result is. They were clapping us at half time because they were chuffed to bits with the way we’d played for them. There are good footballers here but sometimes you need to have that bit of grit and desire to win about you.

“If you’re trying things, putting crosses into the box, tackling and attacking, that will always get a crowd going. The fans want to see you running your socks off as you try to get the result. That’s what we did so they were always going to clap their players for that.”

One talking point from the game was a late, very loud appeal for a penalty as the ball appeared to strike a Northampton hand on its way to testing keeper David Cornell.

“We had a stonewall penalty in my opinion,” he agreed. “How the referee hasn’t seen that handball is beyond me. Everyone else sees it and he doesn’t. It’s a penalty all day long for me. It’s a ridiculous decision when you compare it to what does get given.

“I asked him about it after the game, because it was a clear handball, and all he said was that it wasn’t inside the box. If it’s a clear handball and it’s not inside the box, that means it’s a free kick.

“It wasn’t given, but the lad had his hand up and he’s blocked the ball. The keeper would have had to make a save if it hadn’t hit the hand, so something should have been given.”

And the other talking point was the use of midfielder Kelvin Etuhu in the right back position, the first time he’s ever played in that role for a full 90 minutes.

“I had a conversation with Kel and he said he was up for it,” the manager confirmed. “The conversation went something like - can you play there? He said no. I said, do you want to play there? He said yeah.

“I threw him in there and I’m not frightened to do things like that. I did it at Fleetwood when I played Ashley Hunter at left wing back. He’d never played there before but he did the role really well for me.

“Kelvin takes care of the ball, he gets up and down, and I thought he was excellent. He’s like a rash, he just doesn’t give you a minute’s peace. Full credit to him because he did his job and Powell has ended up having to go off.

“One thing Kelvin can do is cover the ground. He gets in your face and having watched Northampton with Powell and Hoskins, who were very effective last week against Lincoln, I just felt he could do a job there. I thought he was excellent.”

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