Newport County manager Warren Feeney was left feeling ‘gutted’ by his side’s 1-0 defeat to Northampton on Friday after a game in which he felt his side ‘outplayed’ a team that will ‘smash the 100-points barrier’.
The Cobblers ground out yet another valuable three points with victory over plucky visitors Newport to continue their charge for promotion from League Two.
A single strike from John Marquis proved to be enough for Northampton, the forward firing home emphatically on 22 minutes after being set up by Lee Martin.
Despite not being at their best, the Cobblers remain 17 points clear of fourth placed Plymouth Argyle with Chris Wilder’s men on the verge of promotion as well as the title.
Feeney was quick to praise Wilder and Northampton for their achievements this season, but couldn’t hide his disappointment after his side left Sixfields empty-handed.
“Northampton will win the league easy and smash the 100-points barrier and I don’t think you’ll see the champions outplayed like we did, bar the first 20 minutes,” said the County boss.
“It’s very fine margins. We didn’t track a runner for the goal but apart from that we had the best chances and really had a go in the second half.
“They’re romping this league and to come here and play like that, I’m gutted for the players if I’m being honest.”
Feeney watched on as his side posed a constant threat and played with the freedom of a team who have little left to play for.
Newport carved out some great chances throughout the afternoon with the impressive Medy Elito coming closest when he struck the crossbar as County pressed for an equaliser late on.
Feeney added: “I thought we looked very, very fit and I thought we looked strong and I’m just disappointed.
“At the end of the day it’s about taking your chances. We didn’t and you will get up tomorrow morning and it will be 1-0 Northampton.”
The County manager was also quick to add that the quality of the Sixfields pitch may have helped his side’s performance, saying: “I’m not blaming anyone but you look at the pitches and we want to play football.
“Look at our away games and we want to play in the right way, but you come to our pitch and it’s so hard. Unfortunately we have to get on with it.”
Feeney has now ‘challenged’ his players to match Friday’s performance on Easter Monday when they take on Accrington Stanley.