Chris Wilder pulled no punches in his description of the Cobblers’ defending in their defeat to Accrington, describing it as ‘a joke’.
Town were beaten 5-4 at Sixfields in a frenzied match in which they were 4-1 down before mounting a late comeback that fell short in injury time.
Marc Richards scored his seventh goal in five games to take his tally to eight and become the top scorer in Sky Bet League Two, Ivan Toney notched twice off the bench and Darren Carter opened his account for the season.
But this was a poor performance and a well-deserved defeat for a Northampton side that defended poorly as a unit and looked susceptible to both the counter-attack and on set-pieces, to the fury of manager Wilder.
“You’ve got to attack as a team, which we did every so well on Tuesday, and defend as a team, which we certainly did not do against Accrington,” he said.
“The two goals from set-pieces are difficult to take. When you defend in the manner we did you can’t expect to get anything out of the game.
“The manner of the goals, when we look through them, was a joke and we can’t expect to get anything from a game if you defend like that.”
Wilder refused to cite a lengthy injury list - to which the name of Zander Diamond was added prior to the game - as a cause for the defeat and instead opted to focus on making the adjustments to his side that he feels will ensure they do not suffer back-to-back defeats for the first time in his tenure, at Morecambe on Saturday.
“We had key players missing on Tuesday, so I can’t use that as an excuse today, and we had good enough players on the bench. I’m hurting and so are the players but it must have been even worse for the supporters,” he said.
“You have to look at games individually; we scored five on Tuesday but that’s history, and we’ve conceded five today so that’s what I need to address this week in training.
“To score five is great but we were unable to kick on from that today, which is disappointing, and the manner of the goals we conceded was even more disappointing.
“We’re in a decent position but we can’t afford to become a yo-yo side if we want to get success.”