Cobblers boss Keith Curle again accused of his side of both 'lazy defending' and not doing enough in the final third after their 1-0 defeat at Colchester United on Saturday.
There was not much in a largely incident-free opening 45 minutes but Town struggled to cope with their hosts when they stepped it up a notch in the second-half.
United scored at the end of a sustained spell of pressure through Luke Norris' spot-kick and despite Town's best attempts to find an equaliser, they were unable to seriously trouble home goalkeeper Dean Gerken.
"I don't think there was a lot in the game," said Curle afterwards. "Both teams huffed and puffed a bit but their ball retention in the final third was better than ours.
"The goal we conceded was disappointing and just going off my first reaction because I haven't seen it back, I thought it was lazy defending.
"Yes they've got the ball but we stick a leg out and players are going to find it and go over it."
As for his own side's attacking play, Curle admits work needs to be done, adding: "In our final third we had four shots go over the crossbar.
"We need to work harder getting the ball below the bar and on target and we also didn't move the ball quickly enough when we did have good possession."