Notts County manager Neal Ardley berated his players for not doing their jobs during their 3-1 defeat to Northampton in the FA Cup.
Scott Wharton headed home a corner from Nicky Adams just three minutes into the tie and that set the Cobblers on their way to a comfortable victory.
Vadaine Oliver and Harry Smith scored either side of half-time to secure Northampton’s place in round three, despite Kyle Dennis netting a late consolation.
“I said in the build-up that we had to bring our A-game and we had to defend our box properly to get anything from this game,” said Ardley.
“We’ve worked harder than ever because we knew what a threat they would be from set-pieces and we did two days of work on it, going through every facet of all the set-pieces they do and how to deal with them.
“But then after 90 seconds a player doesn’t do his job and we concede so that is very frustrating having worked so hard on it.
“That’s tough to watch and then the second one is a cross and a header in the middle of the box.
“Between the two boxes there wasn’t much between the teams and I knew that would be the case, but they’re very attack-minded and a very big, powerful team.
“We had two or three really good chances at 1-0 and we had chances from six yards out at 2-0, but when you don’t take them the inevitable happens and the third goal goes in to kill the game.”
Northampton boss Keith Curle was delighted with his side’s fifth straight home victory.
He said: “It was a job well done. The result is the all-important thing in cup competitions and first and foremost we had to make sure the focus of the players was right.
“And I think it was. It’s been a good environment and a good working environment with a focus that we knew we had a game plan and we did our work on them.
“We knew what their threats would be and we knew where we could cause them problems and we dealt with them.
“I went to watch them against Boreham Wood on Tuesday and they’ve got some good players and their focus is on getting promotion.
“Sometimes it’s not about style of play, it’s about winning games and I think they did themselves credit because they didn’t fold.
“But it was a good delivery for the first goal and it’s something we spend a lot of time on set-pieces – it’s not something that just happens.
“You have to get the understanding right, the starting positions right and the delivery right and also have the desire and willingness to get on the end of it. When those are all ticked, it’s a difficult ball for the opposition to defend.”