Having a clinical edge in front of goal proved to be the crucial difference between Colchester United and his own side, according to Northampton Town boss Keith Curle.

While conceding four themselves, the hosts were unable to capitalise on chances in a strong opening spell or were thwarted by a superb goalkeeping display from Rene Gilmartin to leave Curle frustrated.

He said: “It was a difficult afternoon and a poor result.

“The scoreline will make the headlines, and I understand that, but there is a story to be told within that and the opportunities we had.

“We created some really good chances today but their keeper made some good saves and they were the defining moments.

“There is an anxiety around when we don’t take those chances and at the other end we need to defend better.

“I think we had nine chances to their ten but they scored four goals.

“They were clinical and we were not.”