Oldham manager Keith Curle was angry at his side’s “unacceptable” first-half performance in the 2-1 defeat at his former club Northampton.
Curle, on his first return to Sixfields since being sacked in February, saw his side fall 2-0 behind before half-time thanks to goals from Jon Guthrie and Kion Etete.
A triple substitution at the break sparked Oldham into life and they had enough chances to take at least a point following Carl Piergianni’s scruffy finish.
“We lost it in the first half,” said Curle. “The players didn’t turn up.
“They thought they could just roll out a performance like they did on Saturday but there was a lack of understanding in terms of what we did well in that game against Port Vale.
“We had fight and we had energy but we didn’t have any of that in the first half and you can’t give any team a two-goal head start.
“The second half shows it’s there and I think that’s the frustrating thing for me because we need to turn up for 90, 95 minutes.
“We need more character because there’s nothing wrong with competing and when we do compete, we’re not a bad team.
“As the manager, I need more from the players and I will demand more and if somebody doesn’t deliver, I will tell them.
“If somebody hasn’t competed and hasn’t gone into tackles, they need to be told and tonight, as a group, we did not turn up for 45 minutes.
“We made them look average in the second half but in the first half they made us look worse than average. It was unacceptable.”
It was the opposite for Northampton boss Jon Brady after his side lost their way following a dominant opening 45 minutes.
He said: “They put everything on our back four in the second half but our back four didn’t win first contacts and for some reason we were very tentative.
“We know in the changing room that the second half wasn’t good enough but I thought we were excellent in the first half and we should have put them to bed and made the game safe.
“We could have killed the game there and then but because we didn’t finish our chances before half-time, we gave them a chance.
“They put a four-man press on our back four and they gave us no space or time in the second half whereas before that we were playing around their shape.
“There was clever movement up front and we were getting in behind and pulling them apart and we were getting crosses in and getting shots off at will.
“The second half was a bit of a shock to the system and it’s something we need to learn from.”
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