Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh admitted he was disappointed by certain aspects of his side's performance in their Maunsell Cup final defeat to Kettering Town on Saturday.
Northampton dominated the first-half and should have been out of sight by half-time but a hatful of missed chances, combined with Michael Richens' stunning 40-yard strike that caught David Cornell unawares, meant it was left to a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.
And Kettering successfully converted all five spot-kicks to prevail, with Dean Bowditch, who netted Town's opener on 18 minutes, the only man to miss when denied by a fine save.
It means the Cobblers have failed to beat two non-league teams in a week following Wednesday's defeat to AFC Rushden & Diamonds, and whilst it's far too early to sound any alarm bells, Edinburgh conceded there is much room for improvement.
"It was a game of two halves really," he reflected. "I thought we started well but as it wore on we became more disjointed and wasteful in possession and that would be the disappointing thing for me.
"In the last couple of games our passing and decision-making hasn't been up to where we want it to be so that's disappointing.
"We've got some players through 90 minutes which is what we looked for first and foremost."
Only three of Northampton's starting XI on Saturday were at the club last season as several new signings featured in a new-look 3-5-2 formation, but Edinburgh was not prepared to use that as an excuse for his side's sloppy display, even if it was a mitigating factor.
He added: "There's a lot of new bodies who have come in and some still to come in so we're in a rush to try and bed them in but as a group now we know how we're going to play and the system we're going to play, so now it's down to personnel to make their claim for each position.
"Whether you know each other or not you should be able to complete 10 and 15 yard passes and that frustrated me more than anything today - it was a lack of care in possession of the ball, but that's what pre-season is for."