It’s not often that your goalkeeper will be a genuine contender for man of the match after a 6-0 home defeat but, unfortunately for Matt Ingram, that was the grim reality on Saturday when his Northampton team were thrashed by Bristol Rovers.
And having conceded six goals for the first time in his professional career, it was no surprise to hear that Ingram took absolutely no comfort from his own performance on such a disastrous afternoon for the Cobblers.
The Queens Park Rangers loanee made a string of first-half saves to keep Town level, producing particularly good stops to keep out both Rory Gaffney and Ellis Harrison, but once Billy Bodin clinically fired Rovers ahead on 37 minutes, the visitors ran riot.
Ingram guessed right to deny Tom Nichols from the spot on the cusp of half-time but he could do little about Rovers’ five second-half goals as the Cobblers defence fell apart.
The Town keeper did show quick reactions to make another fine save from Dominic Telford late on but neither that nor the earlier penalty save could redeem the day.
“I really don’t know what so say after that,” said the shell-shocked 23-year-old. “I had so many opportunities to make saves that I was going to make a few. I made some good saves but at the same time we lost 6-0, so what do those saves mean?
“It was a really disappointing performance, to lose by six goals is a first for a lot of people in that dressing room and it definitely is for me personally.
“It’s disappointing but we’ve just got to pick ourselves up and work hard this week.
“It could have been worse but we need to work on making it better and we’ve got a big game coming up this weekend when we need to put a good performance together and get a win on the board.”
Referring back to his penalty save from Nichols, Ingram revealed he had fellow loanee Matt Grimes to thank.
I had so many opportunities to make saves that I was going to make a few. I made some good saves but at the same time we lost 6-0, so what do those saves mean?
“I’ve got to say thanks to Grimesy because he played with him at Exeter and he gave me a heads up before the game as to which way he was going to go,” explained the former Wycombe man.
“So it’s one of those. I decided which way I was going to go and he hit it that way and to be fair, it wasn’t a great penalty. If you go the right way, you save it.”
It almost beggars belief that Saturday’s display was produced by the same Cobblers team who went to MK Dons only 11 earlier and produced such a controlled, composed away performance, or the team who battled valiantly in defeat to Rotherham, Bradford and Wigan.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it,” added Ingram on why they collapsed so horrifically in the second-half. “We’ve got a great group of lads here and everyone’s together, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be working.
“But evidently there is and we need to find that reason and put it to bed and get on to Saturday.”
Will it help to have no Tuesday game for the first time in a month? “Yes and no,” he continued. “Obviously it helps us regroup but it’d have been nice, if we did have a Tuesday game, to bounce straight back and put Saturday to bed.
“But it is what is is and we’re going to work hard to improve and then go again on Saturday.
“We’ve got to bounce back, there’s no hiding now. We’ll work really hard and hopefully we’ll get a result.”