Cobblers Women's joint-managers Lou Barry and Josh Oldfield were full of praise for their players as their historic Vitality Women’s FA Cup run came to an agonising end with a 4-2 extra-time defeat at Lincoln City in the third round on Sunday.
Town came from behind to lead 2-1 going into the final minute of normal time, but the Imps scored a late, late equaliser to take it into the extra 30 minutes and the home side then eased away to win.
Two goals in extra time decided the tie in favour of the hosts, who are second in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands, which is the league above the Cobblers.
Oldfield said: “The girls gave absolutely everything and they took the game to a team in a higher division. We were 30 seconds away from taking a step into the next round.
“It got away from us a little bit in extra time because we were visibly tired.
“However, that doesn’t take anything away from the character and determination they gave us for 120 minutes.
“The outcomes of this cup run will be big, and we’ve had exposure that we didn’t have previously.
“We’ve shown that we can compete with teams in the league above.”
Barry and Oldfield’s side play their first East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division match in more two months and their first home game since mid-November when they host Notts County this weekend.
A win against their mid-table opponents will continue the Cobblers’ perfect start to the season as they look to regain top spot.
Barry said: “We can’t wait and we’ve said throughout the cup run that the league is our priority. We have 24 hours to be down before we’ll get straight back at it.
“It’s a huge game and it could be a massive three points because we want to win the league.”