Cobblers 'fuming' after conceding 'unacceptable' goals in Crawley draw - reaction and highlights
The fine margins of football were no better illustrated than during this frustrating and yet encouraging 2-2 draw with Crawley Town as the Cobblers came within 90 seconds of chalking up a third straight win and fifth in seven overall.
But instead of moving up to eighth place and within a point of the top seven, Town dropped to 12th and were left to reflect on two points dropped after Joe Martin's 95th minute own goal.
As the ball ricocheted off Martin's foot and agonisingly trickled into the net. it was easy to think this was oh-so typical of the Cobblers, but when the disappointment fades, it'll be replaced by a sense optimism following another promising display from Keith Curle's side.
Up against a free-scoring Crawley side, they again did both sides of the game well in engineering a two-goal lead as Chris Lines converted from the spot in the first-half before Shaun McWilliams capped off a well-worked move in the second.
But Crawley maintained their record of scoring in every league game this season when Ashley Nathaniel-George fizzed into the bottom corner with 20 minutes to go, before Martin's late, late own goal ensured they would not leave the PTS empty-handed.
Although there were positives to take as Town made it seven points from a possible nine over the past week, the experienced Lines, never one to mince his words, was typically forthright afterwards.
"The lads are fuming in the changing room for a few different reasons," he revealed. "We're all very disappointed.
"The other night (at Stevenage) we had six minutes added on and then again today and I'm not quite sure where the six minutes have come from in either game.
"We held out with 10 men the other night but, today, the two goals we conceded were unacceptable.
"But at the start of the week we'd probably have taken seven points so it's been a big week for us and it puts us right in the mix."
Once the dust settles, Lines will no doubt focus on the good things to come out of Town's performance, but whilst Curle was surprisingly upbeat in his own post-match interview, his side's defending for Crawley's first goal was a particular source of frustration.
"You can't have a lad keep cutting in on his favoured right foot," he said. "The warning signs had been there as early as the first-half.
"The information had been given to the players on Thursday and Friday and they saw it on the video, but we're learning and we're developing as a group."
"As the saying goes, you don't lose, you learn."