Cobblers boss Keith Curle admitted he was 'disappointed' by his side's late defeat to Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday but also proud of the character they displayed during a riveting second-half at Sincil Bank.
Town looked down and out when trailing 2-0 to goals from Harry Anderson and Tom Pett, but Jack Bridge ignited hope of a comeback on the hour-mark and then Kevin van Veen pulled the visitors level with just eight minutes left.
But there was a sting in the tail for Northampton who suffered a first-round exit for the second year in a row thanks to Bruno Andrade's stoppage-time strike, condemning Curle to just his second defeat in 10 games at the helm.
"I'm disappointed but I thought we showed some good character to get back into it and that's the magic of the FA Cup - there are twists and turns," he said.
"I thought it showed that we're still on a learning curve. If you have a look at where Lincoln are and if you break it down, you'll find a lot of their points have not been through outstanding individual brilliance.
"It's a case of the opposition not doing the basics consistently well and making the right decisions at the right time. There's a changing room in there that's disappointed and upset but that's the beauty of the FA Cup and I think we played our part."
Town were fortunate to not be further than 1-0 behind at half-time but they improved in the second-half and seemed destined to take the tie to a replay.
"We got on the font foot a lot better in the second-half," added Curle. "In the first I thought players were playing the occasion thinking 'we're playing top of the league so we must be something different'.
"It took us until the second-half to realise that, whoever we play against, if we put the ball into good areas, the other team will find it difficult to deal with it. That's sometimes how simple it is."