Cobblers captain Marc Richards gave a frank assessment of his side’s performance after their abject 2-0 defeat at home to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
The experienced striker was forthright in his views post-match, labelling himself and his team-mates as “boys”, after goals from Graham Carey and Jake Jervis saw Plymouth to a fully deserved three points.
There was little indication of what was to come five minutes prior to half-time with the two sides entangled in an evenly-matched and cagey opening period, but once Plymouth capitalised on a mistake from Leicester City loanee Ryan Watson to strike first, the Cobblers were never able to conjure up a response as Argyle proceeded to dominate.
Having gone into half-time trailing, Northampton inexplicably deserted their usual passing game and instead opted to go more direct with hopeful long balls that inevitably came to little.
This was of particular frustration for Richards who, like his manager, struggled to explain why the home side went so direct after falling behind
He said afterwards: “We shouldn’t have stopped playing the way we know. We went too direct and we were too eager to get that goal back.
“We should have carried on playing the way we do and if we did that I think we would have been okay and got that goal back.
“To be honest their 11 players were better than our 11 players, throughout the second half especially. There was too much space for them to get on the ball and we’ve got to be better.
“We were like boys out there today. We weren’t good enough and we shouldn’t let teams like that come here and dominate like they did.
“A few home truths have been said in the changing room afterwards. The gaffer said a lot of words that made a lot of sense and we need to grow up as a group.
“We have to stay together and stick together but a few home truths will help a few of the lads and now we have to move on and get a result this weekend.”
After all the promise of the opening three wins, the Cobblers have now suffered back-to-back defeats to wash away much of that early season optimism.
“That’s football,” Richards added. “We’re experienced enough to know that when things are going well you can’t get carried away and when things are going poorly, not to get too low.
“You have to stay level-headed and it’s only through that level-headedness that you’re going to come through the other end.
“We’ve had two defeats on the bounce now and we’ve got to rectify that. We’ve now got a chance to go to Newcastle and show what we are capable of.
“First and foremost the league is most important and we have a massive game coming up against Accrington on Saturday.”
On Ryan Watson’s mistake that led to the first goal, Richards added: “Watto knows it was a poor mistake to make.
“It came during a spell in the first half where I felt we were on top but they’ve broke away and scored. I don’t think he needs anyone to tell him what happened and hopefully he’ll learn from that.”