A frustrated Rob Page admitted his side weren’t at their best after the Cobblers were beaten 3-2 by Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Two goals from Alex Revell put Northampton on course for a 2-2 draw but after Gabriel Zakuani saw red for a second yellow card offence, debutant Charlie Colkett smashed home an injury-time winner to earn all three points for the visitors.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed in the changing room,” said Page afterwards.
“I didn’t think we were at our best. At times we played some good stuff but their substitutions made a difference for them.
“We switched off from a set-piece and it wasn’t too hard for them to score the goals so it’s a disappointing afternoon but we’ll pick ourselves up and go again.
“We took the lead with a great goal and Kenji (Gorre) helped with the second but we’ve got to keep playing through to 95, 96 minutes because if you switch off, if you don’t defend set-pieces and you don’t defend the second phase, it’s in the back of your net.”
Zakuani’s sending off was the key talking point as his second yellow, shown by the replacement referee, came just seconds before Rovers’ winner, and Page wasn’t best pleased afterwards.
He added: “I was surprised by Gabby’s second booking. The lad’s clever and goes through, Gabby’s the wrong side and I don’t know how that’s a booking.
“The linesman hasn’t given it, the referee’s 40 yards behind and it’s a difficult one to take but it is what it is.
“Credit to Bristol Rovers, they came here and got the points, but we’ve got to dust ourselves down, address it and go again.
“I would have been disappointed with a point because of the form and the confidence of the boys at the minute.
“We went out for the win today but we weren’t quite at it and having got it back to 2-2, we should have seen it out, taken the point and move on.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow at the moment.”