A performance of two halves left Cobblers boss Jon Brady with mixed emotions after his side were beaten 2-1 by Mansfield Town in the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final on Saturday evening.
The tie threatened to get away from Northampton when Rhys Oates and then Jordan Bowery eased Mansfield into a two-goal lead with only 32 minutes played.
But the visitors dominated in the second-half and Ali Koiki’s first goal for the club was the very least they deserved for their efforts, setting up a tasty second leg at Sixfields on Wednesday.
"We are still very much in the tie,” said Brady. “I thought the first-half was a bit uncharacteristic from us in terms of the two goals we conceded because we don’t usually give away goals like that.
"The first goal is offside, I think the Sky cameras show that, so again we have been dealt a tough blow, but we showed character and spirit to come back into the game in the second-half and we acquitted ourselves well.”
On the message at half-time, Brady added:"There were certain messages and things that we have done all season but I didn’t feel we did them in the first-half.
"We talked about that at half-time and it was just about reinforcing those messages and I thought we were a lot more purposeful in our play and a lot more aggressive in the things we did.
"We look forward to taking them back to Sixfields where we have been strong all season.”