Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell was left to bemoan the feeble manner his side ‘gifted three points’ to Northampton on Saturday after their 3-1 defeat at Sixfields.
Cheap goals and a lack of quality were Caldwell’s chief reasons behind the defeat, with John-Joe O’Toole’s first-half double and Marc Richards’ second-half header guiding the Cobblers to victory.
David Faupala did at least give Chesterfield hope by smashing home on 54 minutes but despite the away side enjoying plenty of second-half possession, it was Northampton who deservedly prevailed.
“We’ve gifted them three points today,” said Caldwell. “Northampton didn’t do a great deal to win the game.
“They’ve probably played better on a lot of occasions this season but we were our own worst enemy and we have to learn from that.
“A lot of what we did in the second-half was very good, we lost a crazy goal at the start of it but we were in total control and we created opportunities but didn’t have the final pass to open them up and score more goals.
“The quality is definitely there in terms of when we pass the ball and how well we can move the ball but you’ve got to do the basics right if you want to win games.”
Caldwell pinpointed Liam Grimshaw’s miss as the game’s key moment when the Chesterfield midfielder was denied by Adam Smith moments prior to Richards making it 3-0.
He added: “Goals change games. We had a fantastic chance to make it 2-1 and I think if we score we’re well in the game but two minutes later it’s 3-0 so those are the key moments that we have to get right if we want to win games.
“I said to the players that they have to keep believing in what they’re doing because they are doing a lot right, as crazy as that sounds having lost a game 3-1.
“There’s important moments in games that we aren’t getting right and we have to improve.”
Now five points adrift of safety, newly-appointed Caldwell knows his side must start picking up points sooner rather than later.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “There’ll be ups and downs and there are a few downs at the moment but we have to keep believing and I think you saw a reaction in the second-half.
“They never threw the towel in. They kept going and but for a bit of quality in the final third or being a bit more patient, I think we could have got back into it and got something from the game.”