Despite seeing encouragement, Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was left to reflect on two glaring late misses after his side were beaten 1-0 by Bradford on Saturday.
Alex Revell and Marc Richards were both guilty of missing the target from close-range in the final few minutes as Tony McMahon's wonderful first-half free-kick, which had been awarded in controversial circumstances, sent all three points to the Bantams.
Aaron Pierre also went close for Town who huffed and puffed in a dominant second-half display but they were ultimately kept at bay by the resilient visitors, who climb to third.
"It was always going to be a very difficult game because they are a really good side who were in the play-off final last season," said Hasselbaink, whose side are now 20th in Sky Bet League One.
"I must say that first-half we didn't really get out of the starting blocks, they were better than us and had a couple of small chances but we had a really big chance with Aaron Pierre where he should do better.
"We tried to pin them second-half and create chances and we had two great chances at the end, so I can't fault my players and I can't ask anymore from them.
"We created those two chances and they fell to the right people, to my strikers, and on any other day they score but today it was not meant to be."
Despite witnessing his side suffer a second straight 1-0 defeat, Hasselbaink was encouraged by what he saw on Saturday.
"I thought there was only one team in it second-half," he added. "We pushed and we tried and we looked to force something with two strikers up and another one on the right.
"It's a pity to lose at home because you don't want to lose at home but we gave them a really good game and and we are in the process of getting better and better."
In other news, it is understood that Chris Long's first-half substitution, replaced by Billy Waters, owed to a hamstring injury.