David Ripley acknowledged that the final session on day one of the LV= County Championship clash with Middlesex was where his team’s problems had begun.
The visitors closed day two on 262-3, just 21 runs behind Northamptonshire’s first innings tally of 283 and they will be eyeing a significant advantage when play resumes tomorrow morning.
The County didn’t help themselves by dropping centurion Chris Rogers on 17 - yet another example of important missed opportunities - but head coach Ripley believes the initiative had been relinquished a lot earlier.
He said: “I thought we kept going well and dried things up but the damage was done in the final session last night (on day one) and we’re now behind in the game.
“Their score put into context our score on the first day where we had the chance, at 100-1 and 180-3, to kick on and get 400.”
And he also pointed the finger at the morning session which featured the pivotal moment when David Sales spilled Rogers at second slip off Ian Butler.
He continued: “The first session was important given where the game was at.
“We eked out a few more runs and then had a really string lbw shout (on Rogers) first ball.
“We talked about Rogers and (Sam) Robson being the key wickets and if they were 10-2 with both of them back in the hutch it would’ve looked a lot different.
“We then created out own chance to get him out and that obviously cost us.
“It had that inevitability about someone who recognises it’s a good pitch and makes the most of it.”
It looks likely that the home side will be facing a hefty deficit once their turn to bat for second time comes around but even if that is to be the case, Ripley wants his charges to make life as difficult as possible for their guests.
“The new ball will be important in the morning and we need to the deficit down to a minimum and then get stuck in and knock that off,” he said.
“Plan B is, if they’re going to have a lead, then we have to make them bat as long as possible to get it.”