Cobblers boss Chris Wilder says his players ‘embarrassed’ themselves and the club’s supporters with an ‘unacceptable’ first-half display in the 3-1 defeat at Sky Bet League Two leaders Burton Albion.
Town were 3-0 down inside just 41 minutes, with an own goal from Zander Diamond after goalkeeper Shwan Jalal’s attempted clearance was charged down, a scuffed shot from Phil Edwards and a Lucas Akins penalty seeing the Brewers in total command.
A stunning Lawson D’Ath volley on 54 minutes did give the Cobblers and their 700-strong away following some hope, but the home side weathered the early second-half storm from Town and eased to the win that sees them on the brink of claiming the Sky Bet League Two title.
As for the Cobblers, their outside play-off hopes were finally ended with this defeat, although Plymouth’s win over Tranmere meant that even if Town had won at the Pirelli Stadium, the top seven would have been out of reach.
“We got steamrollered first half, all three goals were poor goals from us,” said an unhappy Wilder.
“Whether the second half was a reaction from us, or whether it was Burton taking their foot off the gas we’ll never know.
“But we needed to a show a reaction to for our supporters because we embarrassed ourselves first half. We embarrassed me, and the supporters with our performance.
“We did show a reaction, we pushed them back and asked them a few questions and it was a lot better.”
The introduction at half-time of Marc Richards and Ryan Cresswell certainly had an affect, and Wilder added: “It was a chalk and cheese performance between the first 45 and the second 45.
“Burton were much better than us in the first half, and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
“We had an individual mistake after three minutes for the first goal, and Burton didn’t need a handout but we gave them one.
“From then on they were quicker, stronger, better and wanted it more than we did all over the pitch.
“We made a couple of changes at half-time that made us a lot, lot better, and we gave them a game, which we should have done from the off.
“The first half was completely unacceptable, but in the second half we showed we have some characters in there.
“We started getting up the pitch, winning tackles, winning headers, winning races and were more physical.”