Cobblers U18s coach Jon Brady had no complaints after his side were beaten 2-1 by Colchester United in the first-round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday.
Second-half goals from Diogo Freitas-Gouveia and Jake Hutchinson sent United through to round two despite Michael Harding scoring late on for the Cobblers.
"I thought they were a very good side," said Brady afterwards. "With them being a category two side we knew it would be a tough game.
"We showed good resolve to come back and make a game of it and get a goal at the end, but unfortunately we lost and I will put my hands up because the better team won tonight.
"I think the disappointing hing is that the belief levels in our play didn't seem to be there and four or five of us were off it.
"They didn't play to the level I believe they can play and when you have that you find it hard.
"If you have eight or nine who are better than the opposition, you have an opportunity but a few of us didn't really turn up and that's frustrating because I believe in these boys a lot.
"They'll be hurting that they didn't put in the performance they know they can but football turn arounds quickly and we've got a tough game away at Southend on Saturday.
"It's a chance to put it right and hopefully we can get it out of our system."