Keith Curle delighted as Northampton take victory at struggling Burton

Keith Curle
Keith Curle (PA Wire)
18:41pm, Sat 21 Nov 2020
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Keith Curle was a very happy Northampton boss as a brace of goals from Harry Smith set them on their way to a 3-1 victory at struggling Burton in League One.

Chris Lines was also on target for the Cobblers before Lucas Akins netted a late consolation goal for the Brewers.

“There are lots of positives to take from the game,” Curle said after seeing his side adapt their formation and get off to a flying start with Smith netting his first league goal of the season in only the second minute.

“Individually some of the performances were very good and achieved the standards that we expect. We did tinker with the shape in the last couple of days and I have to say the attention to detail from the players has been very good.”

Smith glanced home from a well-rehearsed set-piece before nicking the ball past Albion keeper Ben Garratt to get his second midway through the second half.

Substitute Lines secured victory with a third before Akins spoiled Town’s clean sheet with a stoppage-time penalty after a handball from defender Fraser Horsfall.

But Curle was especially pleased with his centre forward’s first EFL strikes of the campaign.

“It is important for all centre forwards to score goals,” the Cobblers boss said.

“It is something that plays on their mind but the pleasing thing for me today was Harry’s involvement overall, taking the goals out of it.

“He played with a bit more freedom and he had a smile on his face today. We have spoken to him about the pressure of playing up there and to score goals. You need craft first of all to play your role and then the goals will come and his second goal today was a great finish.”

Albion boss Jake Buxton was left to rue a terrible start to the game as Town breached the Burton defence after just a minute before they could even settle.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance today,” admitted a frustrated Buxton.

“To concede after a minute, all the information that you prepare and the work that you do during the week making sure we don’t give cheap fouls away, eliminate the threat of letting Northampton put balls into the box because they way they put you under pressure and we gave them a free leg-up after a minute.

“The players understand the situation but I try to absorb as much of the pressure as I can so that they can have the freedom to play the way we want them to play.

“I have to stick to my beliefs. I believe the players we brought in over the summer and the players I inherited from the previous manager all want to play in the correct way but ultimately we are not picking up the results.

“At the minute we don’t quite have the bravery when it is 0-0 or 1-0 to do what we want to do.”

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