Chris Wilder says he always felt it would be a tough ask for his side to clinch promotion against Notts County on Saturday as the Cobblers boss remained upbeat after their celebrations were made to wait another week by the Magpies.
Needing to win and other results go their way, Northampton led through Ricky Holmes’ 20-yard volley on 32 minutes but goals from Thierry Audel and Jon Stead put County in front.
Holmes did salvage a point with a late penalty but Cobblers could find no winner, meaning the wait for promotion continues into next week.
As it happened, other results meant promotion could not have been achieved even if the Cobblers had beaten Notts County.
Wilder said: “I always thought today, with the two results having to go for us and us having to win, was a big ask for promotion to happen.
“We’ve talked about it for the last two or three weeks, no one can be disappointed with the amount of effort and commitment this group of players have shown, we just haven’t quite got over the line yet.
“It’s strange situation to be in, we’re in limbo at the moment, so hopefully it will happen next week.”
On the game itself, Wilder added: “I thought we played well. They were tough opposition shape-wise and have good players who’ve been badly managed this year with the likes of Stead, Izale McLeod and Liam Noble.
“They’ve played at a good level and sometimes when you go away from home against a team who’s about to be promoted, you don’t want it to be against you.
“I’ve been in that position as a player and you don’t want to see people partying in front of you.
“It was a tough game and got our noses in front but then conceded not a great goal.
“I thought it was a foul on Nicky (Adams) leading up to it and I wasn’t too impressed by the referee today.
“They were always dangerous opposition and their shape was a difficult one for us and I didn’t think we were great.
“We had a go and we possibly should have won the game in the last 10 minutes because we came on strong.”