Adam Rossington says Northants fancied their chances of beating Sussex on the final day of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at the County Ground.
But Rossington admits the loss of Luke Procter forced the hosts to 'shut up shop' at 218 for six as they eventually battled to secure a draw.
Sussex, who made 422 all out in the first innings, declared in the second innings on 339 for four.
That meant Northants needed 394 in 90 overs, and they were struggling at 162 for five.
But Rossington helped to share two 50 partnerships to save the game, earning Northants 11 points as they claimed their third draw in four Championship matches this season.
“It was tough, they bowled well and made it hard work for us," Rossington said.
"We’d have liked to have kept them out a bit longer (before Sussex declared) this morning so it left us a bit more work to do but a great battling effort with the bat.
“Me and Luke were still looking to chase the target at tea.
"We were thinking 'go at three-four an over and give ourselves a chance in the last hour' but Luke got a good ball after tea and from there it was a case of shutting up shop.
“With the new ball there was definitely still something in the pitch and going down to the last session, all results possible, it was a good cricket wicket.”
Sussex gave themselves plenty of time to bowl out Northants, but they failed in their mission.
And the away side's skipper, Ben Brown, said: “We’re a bit disappointed.
"We tried everything but ultimately our skill with the ball wasn’t quite there and we didn’t get enough balls in areas to force the result.
“Apart from Mir Hamza we weren’t on it as a group with the ball this week and we didn’t give him enough support.
"Our attack isn’t at full strength and that probably showed here.
“After all the work we’d done in the game, we didn’t want to give it away so I felt we needed the extra runs this morning.
"Ninety overs was enough to win the game and the pitch was still helping our bowlers but we just didn’t bowl well enough.”