Crawley Town boss Mark Yates praised his side’s second-half spirit but conceded a lack of quality cost them against Northampton Town.
The high-flying Cobblers dominated the first half after an early penalty where Joel Byrom put in the rebound after Darryl Flavahan had saved Marc Richards’ spot-kick and John Joe O’Toole added a fine second.
Reds got a foothold after the break when Brendan Moloney was sent off for tugging back substitute Shamir Fenelon in the area and Simon Walton made it 2-1 from the spot.
But the home side fell just short of a leveller despite plenty of pressure and Yates said: “We showed a lot of character and show a lot of spirit and almost got back in the game.
“There are some disappointed players in the dressing room and quite rightly so, we should be disappointed, but not too downhearted.
“We have come up against a good side and we have just fallen short, we have to go again and we can.
“We weren’t quite at it first half, they probably only had three chances and stuck two of them in the back of the net.
“But the pleasing thing is we didn’t give up, we gave the crowd something to cheer and get excited about and they saw the effort they put in.
“We showed a lot of quality in the second half in terms our ability to battle, our ability to fight our way back into games and stick in games.
“Even in the 94th minute we were still trying and attempting to get something out of the game and I can’t fault them for that.”
On the visitors’ fifth-minute penalty, Yates added: “The first real play they have had they have scored from. We didn’t deal with a free-kick to start with they played off that with a good bit of play in the corner.
“I don’t think Walts (Simon Walton) has caught him, I think he has just gone over his leg. I thought it was pretty innocuous.
“First half we were a little sloppy in possession and allowed them to press us and allowed them to look a really good side and they did.
“We conceded again from nothing really. We have had chances second half, we have come out and changed it with Shamir’s pace causing them problems.
“We got the penalty and had a few other good chances, but unfortunately lacked a little touch of quality when we really needed it.”
“With what has happened to them with the take-over, it was just going to be their night.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!