Page left gutted after Blades punish Cobblers for late defensive lapse

A sickened Rob Page was left to reflect on one lapse in concentration which cost his side dear in their galling 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 4:13 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:42 pm
Rob Page and Chris Wilder show contrasting emotions after Kieron Freeman scores an 88th minute winner for Sheffield United. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

For 88 minutes, Northampton produced a gutsy and determined performance to withstand and frustrate their title-chasing hosts who were restricted to half chances and long-range efforts, much to the audible annoyance of many of the 25,000 fans inside Bramall Lane.

But all of Town's hard work was undone in the 88th minute when they failed to clear a cross into the box and the ball fell kindly to Kieron Freeman, who duly lashed in the winner.

"It's a sickener and it's hard to take, even now," said Page afterwards.

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"We switched off for a split second and against a team like that and quality opposition, it's going to be in the back of your net.

"We defended excellently all game, we had to, and we knew we would have to throw our bodies on the line which we did.

"But at the vital stage of the game, in the 89th minute, we don't clear the ball and we have a slip in the box and if the lad doesn't slip we get a clearance.

"It didn't go our way today. It did on Boxing Day but not today."

All was not lost for Page, however, as he took plenty of heart from his side's tenacious display, adding: "It was important to build on the momentum of Oxford and performance-wise I thought we did that today.

"I frustrated for the supporters who've travelled but I think they've seen from a work-rate and attitude point of view the boys put a shift in and nearly got something out of the game.

"It was our own doing. We had an opportunity to clear our lines but we didn't and they got the chance to overload us on the right and before you know it, the ball's in the net.

"It's fine lines. It's a tough one to take but we've got another game in 48 hours so we have to prepare quickly and get ready for that one."