Michael Duff delighted to come through ‘close and nervy’ clash with Northampton



Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by PA

Michael Duff delighted to come through ‘close and nervy’ clash with Northampton

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff admitted he was relieved to emerge the right wide of a cagey encounter with League Two promotion rivals Northampton.

Duff watched his team recover from falling behind in the third minute to make it four wins in a row and six successive home victories thanks to Luke Varney’s 85th-minute winner.

Ryan Broom had struck before the break to cancel out Ryan Watson’s early opener.

Duff said: “It was always going to be a close game and it was a close game down at their place (a 1-1 draw in December).

“We have shaded it on possession, chances on and off target, but it was close and nervy.

“The crowd – both sets of supporters – sort of sat and watched it and I don’t think there was a lot of noise made because everyone was on the edge of their seat.

“To go 1-0 down, the stats in this league are massive and when you concede the first goal, it is difficult to come back and win.

“To do that against a team who are so organised and diligent in the way they do defend, I was delighted.”

Varney was brought on in the 81st minute and four minutes later he struck from close range after Chris Hussey’s corner was not dealt with by the visiting defence.

Northampton had gone ahead when Charlie Goode’s long throw was not dealt with, allowing Watson to control the ball well before firing into the bottom left corner.

The lead lasted for 16 minutes, with Jake Doyle-Hayes finding Broom, who curled beyond the dive of David Cornell from 20 yards.

Northampton boss Keith Curle felt his side lacked quality in the final third as they lost ground in their own play-off push.

“We had a strong foothold in the game, but didn’t show quality on the break or in their half,” he said.

“Their first goal was a scrambled ball into the box which we haven’t defended.

“When it’s squeaky-bum time, as a defender you need to be more aggressive.

“And I was disappointed with their first goal when we weren’t competitive.

“We started the game very well. We won enough ball, but needed that quality in their half.”

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