Austin left crestfallen as League Two looms for Cobblers after Walsall defeat
A deflated Cobblers caretaker boss Dean Austin admitted he was 'gutted' for both his players and the fans after Saturday's last-gasp 1-0 defeat to Waslsall left the club on the brink of relegation from Sky Bet League One.
Northampton went into the game thinking victory was essential if they were to avoid the drop but, as it turned out due to results elsewhere, a draw would have taken the fight to the final day of the season against Oldham Athletic.
But, with Town going for the win, George Dobson's 91st minute goal condemned them to defeat and with it relegation, barring a miraculous 17-goal turn around against the Latics next weekend.
"Obviously it's very raw at the moment," admitted Austin. "I'm just gutted for the boys and I'm really gutted for the 2,000 fans we had here today because they were absolutely phenomenal.
"I thought they were going to suck the ball in during the second-half but it just wasn't to be.
"It's raw for me because this is the first time in 29 years in this game that I've been involved in a relegation.
"The players don't need to hear anything at the moment; I just need to go away, lick my wounds like I've asked them to do and dust ourselves down because we need to reflect on how we all move forward from here."
The Cobblers will be ruing their wasteful finishing having spurned several good chances during Saturday's defeat at Matt Grimes and Daniel Powell both hit the woodwork while Matt Crooks also went close in addition to a strong penalty appeal and a controversial disallowed goal.
It wasn't to be though, and a frustrating afternoon, and season, was compounded by Dobson's first-time finish in stoppage-time.
"We had enough chances to win the game today and that started from the first minute when Powelly hit the inside of the post," added Austin.
"It just about sums up the season and how this season has gone but I can't fault our attitude, our application, our desire and what we've shown in the last few weeks.
"It's not a time for talking, it's a time for reflection and analysing. We're just gutted."