Chris Wilder felt the Cobblers’ FA Cup defeat to Rochdale was harsh on his players, who came within five minutes of producing an upset at Spotland.
Wilder’s side led for 80 minutes through Ivan Toney’s sixth goal of the season, a firm header from Darren Carter’s free-kick.
But Reuben Noble-Lazarus equalised for the hosts with five minutes to play and Oliver Lancashire headed home an injury-time winner to consign Northampton to a third straight defeat and knock them out.
“The game is being a bit harsh to us at the moment in terms of results,” said Wilder.
“We always knew they would pass it but we were a touch disappointed not to be further ahead in the first 20 or 25 minutes.
“To be fair to them, they move the ball around pretty quickly and two late goals sealed the tie.
“They put on Calvin Andrew and went direct, changed their game plan, and all credit to Keith (Hill) because that is the way to manage.
“We only gave them one opportunity before that and that was a bit of a scramble but we didn’t get up the pitch enough to support our front players and when that happens you get pinned back.
“We made the changes we felt we had to and I think it’s a harsh defeat on us.
“We’re not in a good run but we’re not getting smashed three or four and our keeper isn’t making save after save.
“We were more than a match for a really good league one side and we could quite easily have won, but it’s a harsh game to us at the moment.”
The evening was also a costly one in terms of injuries, with Ryan Cresswell substituted after landing awkwardly on his knee late in the game.
Although the extent of that injury is not known, Town have learned that left-back Tom Newey’s ankle problem is more serious than first anticipated, and he will be out for close to six weeks than the initial three to four suggested.