Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon described himself as ‘very frustrated’ after his side conceded two goals ‘at the worst possible times’ during their 2-1 defeat to Northampton at Prenton Park on Tuesday.
Mellon felt Rovers were unfortunate to find themselves behind at half-time after Cobblers striker Sam Hoskins started and ended the first-half by getting himself on the scoresheet.
Let’s be honest, did we deserve to be behind? I would have to say no. It’s very difficult when almost an entire team are inside their own 18-yard box defending.
The 26-year-old showed good pace and a calm head to break the deadlock just two minutes in before he responded to James Norwood’s equaliser midway through the half by notching another, producing a brilliant finish in stoppage-time.
Rovers pressed for an equaliser in the second-half but they were thwarted by a resolute Cobblers display as the visitors held on for their first away victory in nearly two months.
“We are very frustrated, we have lost goals at the worst possible times in order to get any rhythm or routine in to our performance so that had a massive factor in the way that the game got played,” said Mellon.
“We kept trying to play and pass it but giving away an early goal changes the mentality and then everybody wants to force it, and everybody gets a but frustrated, but that’s football.
“It would have taken that bit of quality in a vital area or a bit a bit of magic and imagination to try and open up a whole body of defensive players in their box.
“To lose a goal when we did just before half-time is the worst possible time to lose a goal when we were looking to get back in to it, I think that was the story of the game.”
The defeat, their third in a row and fourth in five games, further dented Tranmere’s play-off hopes, leaving them 10th in Sky Bet League Two and eight points off the top seven.
Mellon added: “There were things we could have done better but we played fine in the first-half and scored a good equaliser.
“The goal just before half-time comes from nothing. He sort of just stabbed at it and it’s looped up and that’s just the way it went against us and that was the frustrating thing.
“We had them pinned in during the second-half and I don’t remember them having a shot at goal. Let’s be honest, did we deserve to be behind? I would have to say no.
“I’ve stood here many times and I would be honest and say had we been out-passed or anything like that.
“But what we had to be better at was the final pass or the final cross into the box, but that’s very difficult when almost an entire team are inside their own 18-yard box defending.
“They will obviously give themselves credit for that because they were able to keep us about but, from our point of view, we’ve got to be better when we get the opportunities. There’s a lot of frustration about.”