Chris Wilder felt his Cobblers side lost their opportunity to beat Cambridge United in the 30 seconds immediately after Ivan Toney’s opening goal.
And the Town boss admitted he was at a loss to explain an eighth defeat for his side, who went down 2-1 at the Abbey Stadium and remain 15th in the Sky Bet League Two table.
Northampton had been in front on 50 minutes but Adam Cunnington scored two minutes later and substitute Ryan Bird settled it 11 minutes from time.
Wilder kept his players locked in the dressing room after the match and then explained his theory as to why they lost.
“Without being disrespectful to the opposition, we played a few teams last year who came to our place and blew us away and you have to hold your hands up but we’ve lost eight games now and in all of those eight games I’m scratching my head as to how we’ve lost them,” he said.
“But we have and we have to take responsibility. The game changed from the kick-off after we scored.
“In every game up and down the country, you will hear people say that as soon as you score you have to go and get the ball.
“We didn’t put any pressure on it, we’ve allowed a boy to whack a long ball down the side of us, it’s ended up as a corner and then the whole mood of the game changes.
“The game management from the senior players was really poor.”
A key turning point in the game was the substitution of Chris Hackett with the scores at 1-1, with a recurrence of his long-term heart condition.
Left-back Tom Newey was also taken off with an ankle injury on the half-hour mark and will be monitored ahead of Tuesday’s game at Rochdale but Hackett should be fit.
“Chris felt the thing with his heart and it’s something that comes up once or twice a season,” he said. “When it happens he has to come straight off and have total rest for a couple of days.”