IAN Evatt admits Wanderers should have made things easier against Northampton Town – but was happy to get back to winning ways, nonetheless.

Dion Charles and Randell Williams had put the Whites two up inside 16 minutes and there were ample opportunities to extend the lead after that.

But the flowing football that had helped get them ahead slowed down and Northampton were able to pull a goal back through Will Hoskins to set up a tense finale.

“First half was as good as we have played this season, some of our approach play was excellent, crisp and precise,” Evatt said after the game. “But I have just told the players that when we smell blood we really do need to finish the game off. Two-nil can be a funny score-line.

“All the messages we gave at half time just went out of the window because in that second half that nervousness just spread right through the team. You could hear it and sense it everywhere, in the fans, in the players, us as staff. We kept turning the ball over, and it wasn’t just one or two players, it was everyone.

“Of course, they got a bit of momentum from all that, and we went into ‘see the game out’ mode, when that really isn’t us. We can do it but it does not come naturally, we are a front foot team.

“They didn’t create a great deal other than the goal itself but we have to learn from that today. It is a win, we have won three of the last four and still have a game in hand.

“We mustn’t be downbeat, even though we made it difficult for ourselves.”

Asked if he felt as frustrated as the supporters – whose irritation was audible in the second half – that the game was not more comfortable, he added: “I don’t think I’d say I was frustrated.

“I just want to see what I saw in the first half on a more consistent basis throughout the 90 minutes. That was very much like the Port Vale win, or the game at Reading where we had completely dominated the first half and should have been out of sight but then allow – though our own mistakes – the opposition to grow into the game, “It is something that we need to learn and be better at. But all is not lost, and if we are winning games at 70-80 per cent of where I feel we should be, then it bodes well for when we can make it click into gear. I do think that will happen when we get a clear run with everyone.”

Wanderers now face successive away games at Wycombe and Charlton, which are likely to be big tests of their promotion credentials.

Evatt added: “I don’t know who does these fixtures and gives us two away games like that back to back, but it is certainly challenging. But if we are to achieve our ambitions then we have to find a way to go to these places to get results.

“Wycombe hasn’t been too successful for us. Speaking to the owners, some of whom live that way, it is important we go there to try and change our recent record. Then we get ready for Charlton, where our record has been very good.

“We are looking forward to this week – we’ll learn from this game and move on.”