Opposition view: Frustrated Coughlan insists Stags 'should have won' against Cobblers
Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan insisted his side 'created the better chances' and 'should have had the game dead and buried' after they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by the Cobblers on Saturday.
Coughlan was taking charge of his first game since being appointed Stags boss on Tuesday and Andy Cook's goal with 16 minutes to go looked to have handed him the perfect start.
But Harry Smith popped up with an equaliser 10 minutes later and both teams ultimately had to be content with a point at full-time.
“I’m bitterly disappointed because we should have won the game,” said Coughlan. “We had the better chances and the game should have been dead and buried.
“But I was really pleased with our work rate, attitude and commitment. There were lots and lots of positives.
“We got a little bit lucky in the first two minutes when their shot came off the crossbar, but the lads have worked their socks off in the last three days for me so we deserved that little bit of luck.
“But after that, we defended resolutely. We had to head it and put our bodies on the line. I loved the defending and I also loved the way we picked the ball up, turned, and went at the opposition. There is plenty to work with."
Mansfield were fortunate to go into half-time level after Sam Hoskins, Nicky Adams and Scott Wharton all went close for the Cobblers, but Coughlan's side upped their game in the second period.
“I wasn’t comfortable with the first-half," he admitted. "I felt like we were just running along with them and I thought we paid them a little too much respect.
“Yes they’re a promotion-chasing team and deserve to be there, but I just wasn’t getting enough from three or four individuals.
“I thought Northampton were there to get at and CJ Hamilton was excellent today, but to be honest I thought they were all excellent and I feel bitterly disappointed that we didn’t win the game. But it’s something to build on.”