Cobblers boss Chris Wilder has highlighted the damaging four-day spell when the Cobblers lost at home to Carlise United and then at Bury as a pivotal one in his team’s failure to reach the Sky Bet League Two play-offs this season.
With Town in 11th place, four places and seven points off the top seven with just four games remaining, Wilder has admitted that the promotion dream is over for the current campaign.
They were were points we should have been picking up, that Bury-Carlisle week, when we were on a bit of a rollCobblers boss Chris Wilder
And asked what he felt was a key moment in the run-in that damaged his team’s chances, he pointed to the 2-0 Sixfields defeat to relegation-threatened Carlisle on March 17 which was followed up a few days later by a 2-1 reverse at Gigg Lane against 10-man Bury.
“I think possibly the Bury game where we were 1-0 up,” said Wilder, when asked where things had gone awry.
“They were were points we should have been picking up, that Bury-Carlisle week, when we were on a bit of a roll.
“The first half against Carlisle we should have been up in the game, and at Bury they were down to 10 men and we lose that game.
“That is two points there minimum for us, if not more.”
The Cobblers did respond to that double setback, and a Sixfields win over Luton Town on March 28 breathed new life into their play-off bid.
But a useful draw at AFC Wimbledon was followed by a home loss to lowly Cambridge United and Saturday’s last-minute defeat at Stevenage, and that has seen Town come up short.
“It has been disappointing to only take one point from the past three games,” admitted Wilder, who takes the Cobblers to his former club Oxford United for the first time on Tuesday night.
“It is disappointing for the supporters because we would have loved to give them something to cheer about towards the end of the season.
“But I have said to the players, they have an obligation to go right to the end.
“We’re not on a great run in terms of points gained, but we have to make sure we finish on a high.”