Plymouth Argyle manager Derek Adams had no complaints over Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to the Cobblers at Sixfields, accepting that his promotion-chasing side had been outplayed ‘all over the pitch’ and were ‘bullied’ by the relegation-battlers.
The Pilgrims arrived at Sixfields boasting an impressive record since November’s 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at Home Park having lost only one of their previous 12 games and sitting just outside the play-off places with games in hand.
But they were distinctly second best on Saturday when John-Joe O’Toole’s first-half strike and Zak Vyner’s own goal around the hour-mark handed Northampton a first home victory since beating MK Dons in January.
“We weren’t good enough today,” admitted Adams. “Northampton were far better than us, they bullied us over the 90 minutes and won the game, deservedly so.
“They had a bit of fight about them but they’ve got three games left so they’re trying to get our of the relegation zone and they looked like a team who wanted to that.
“But we didn’t look like a team that wanted to get into the play-offs and that’s not something I’ve been able to say about my team before because we’ve done so well to get into this position.
“We’ve got four games to go and we’ve still got the opportunity to be in the play-offs. Every team below would want to swap places with us.”
It would have been a much heavier defeat for Adams’ men had it not been for the impressive Remi Matthews who pulled off a series of superb stops between the sticks.
The Pilgrims goalkeeper came out on top in a personal duel with Town striker Sam Hoskins, who was thwarted on three different occasions, while O’Toole, Daniel Powell and Matt Crooks were also left frustrated.
“Northampton were far better than us all over the pitch,” continued Adams. “Remi Matthews kept us in the game so many times and we didn’t really do well in any areas of the pitch other than the goalkeeper.
“The result was unfair on him but it was a day where we needed him and he made a number of outstanding saves.
“Teams in the relegation zone don’t want to drop down into League Two and you saw that with Northampton – the game wasn’t as open as I thought it would be because we didn’t open them up too many times and when we did, we didn’t pick the right pass to get us in.”