Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was left ‘shocked’ by his side’s tepid display after they suffered their heaviest ever defeat at Sixfields when thrashed 6-0 by Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Billy Bodin’s clinical 37th minute finish set Rovers on their way on a torrid and instantly forgettable afternoon for Northampton, who had goalkeeper Matt Ingram to thank for not being further behind at half-time.
Ingram kept out Tom Nichols’ spot-kick but he was left powerless to do anything about Rovers’ rampant march to victory in a remarkable second-half.
Ellis Harrison’s double shortly after half-time put the game to bed before a red card for Alex Revell, awarded for an apparent elbow on Tom Broadbent, was followed by more misery.
Rory Gaffney, Liam Sercombe and Dominic Telford all added to the scoreline as the Cobblers failed to score for a fifth successive league game, leaving them 22nd in Sky Bet League One.
“I’m shocked,” said Hasselbaink afterwards. “I didn’t see it coming.
“It was a very bad performance and I’m not talking only about the second-half, I’m also talking the first-half.
“I think we gave a lot of chances away, way too many, and we had been a lot better at that in the previous games.
“On our right-hand side we didn’t look as strong as we are used to. They got a lot of chances from our right side and it was just not good enough, far, far, far away from being good enough.
“I’m shocked and really sorry for the fans because we are a lot better than that and the fans deserve a lot better.
“We’re coming out of a very difficult month where we played a lot of matches and where we couldn’t really train.
“We need to work, we need to work really hard and make sure that we are better next time because this is not good enough.”
On Revell’s red card, Hasselbaink added: “To be honest I’ve not seen it. It’s important that when you are down, you stay disciplined. I can’t say if it was a red or if he elbowed the player but him coming off didn’t help, obviously.
“We need to avoid those things because I’m already bare with injuries and that kind of stuff so getting red cards doesn’t help the cause.”
The news on Brendan Moloney is not much better, with Hasselbaink confirming he came off with a hamstring injury.