Marcus Law admitted Kettering Town had “a bad day at the office” as their four-match unbeaten run was ended by 10-man Cirencester Town last night (Tuesday).
The Poppies arrived late in Gloucestershire, resulting in a delayed kick-off and they were eventually beaten when Ross Langworthy headed home the only goal on 66 minutes.
That came after home defender Ellis Dunton had seen red for a professional foul on Wilson Carvalho early in the second half.
But Kettering were unable to make the numerical advantage count as the hosts claimed their first league victory since October 3.
It brought to an end an encouraging run of form for the Poppies and left them in 10th place in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division - six points off the play-off places.
Law felt his team had a good claim for a penalty when Gary Mulligan appeared to be fouled in the first half.
But the manager offered few other excuses for the setback.
“We have to admit that we didn’t play well but, after the way we have performed recently, I am not going to beat them up about it,” the Poppies boss said.
“We got there really late and it meant a bit of rushing around but I felt we controlled large parts of the game and we were well in it.
“But we snatched at the opportunities that came our way and we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough.
“And then we were done by a sucker-punch when we were trying to force the issue.
“It just didn’t happen for us, it was a bad day at the office.
“It has been a hectic period for the squad with the new players coming in and this was one of those nights for us.
“I thought we had a good claim for a penalty when Gary Mulligan was fouled and we have had a goal disallowed for offside when it wasn’t.
“We know we didn’t play well but certain things didn’t go in our favour either.”
The Poppies are back on the road at the weekend when they make the short trip to St Neots Town.
Read more from Marcus Law in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph