Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder branded his side’s 2-1 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge as “unacceptable” after two first half goals from Matt McClure saw the visitors to their first victory of the season.
The Cobblers appeared in control after 25 minutes and they deservedly led through Marc Richards’ header but McClure capitalised on some poor defending to turn the game on its head.
From that point on Northampton struggled to regain the initiative with home goalkeeper Adam Smith making a number of fine saves to prevent Dagenham from winning by a greater margin.
Wilder said afterwards: “For the first half an hour we were the better side. Our goalkeeper hasn’t had anything to save and we had a lot of the ball and scored a really good goal.
“But then we gave away two awful goals and we lost a bit of belief. It gave them a massive boost because up until that point we were in control.
“We huffed and puffed second half, had a lot of the ball and they sat deep and I tried to change the system but we have to be brave enough to move the ball quicker which we didn’t today, especially in the second half.
“Our goalkeeper has done fantastically well to keep us in the game. He’s had far too much work to do.
“We were open and chasing the game which you have to when you’re 2-1 down because we wanted to get something out of the game but we didn’t score and they had pace on the counter-attack which hurt us.”
Wilder also felt some of his players lost confidence once they conceded which had a detrimental impact on the rest of the team.
He added: “We were in the ascendency and I was expecting us to go on.
“The shape of the team was good and they weren’t hurting us at all but I thought one or two of our players severely lost confidence in themselves and when that’s the case you’re down by two or three players who are not on their game and it hurts the team.
“It’s not acceptable and we have to take responsibility.
“We created enough chances but it’s at the other end where we’re struggling to keep the ball out of our net and when it does go in we lose a lot of heart and belief and we need to man up.”
Northampton had never lost to the Daggers in their previous 10 meetings, winning nine and drawing one.
“This is a game we should have won regardless of our record,” Wilder added.
“We’ve got some big weeks coming up now. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on the training ground.”