Northampton manager Jon Brady felt he was forced into making both personnel and tactical changes at half-time of Saturday’s game against Bolton Wanderers after being unable to ‘accept’ how his team performed in the first half.
Cobblers were cut to ribbons in the opening half-hour at the Toughsheet Community Stadium as their high press malfunctioned, allowing Bolton numerous opportunities to run at an exposed visiting defence, two of which led to goals for Dion Charles and Randell Williams inside 16 minutes.
It could have turned ugly from that point but Town managed to survive until half-time without any further damage and Brady switched things around by replacing Kieron Bowie with debutant Jordan Willis and going to three at the back.
A more even second half followed and Sam Hoskins’ header gave Cobblers hope of snatching what had looked an unlikely away point but, despite late pressure, the poor start proved too much to come back from.
"I had to make the changes at half-time because I couldn't accept the way we played in the first half,” said Brady. "We didn't start well and our timing on the press was horribly wrong, we were stretched all over and they sliced us open. We jumped out of holes at the wrong times and that's very unusual for us.
"But we made the changes and I felt that made a big difference to us. Sam's goal was a good goal, it's well-worked, and before that we won the ball back in the press and Sam had another real good chance.
"There were a few little half chances at the end, there's the flick from a throw-in that no one follows in, but again, you go back to the first half, we just made it too easy for them and that's the disappointing thing.”
Bowie was withdrawn at the break partly due to the fact he had played two 90 minutes for Scotland Under-21s over the international break.
"I took Kieron off at half-time because he's played two 90 minutes for his national team and I had to look after him,” Brady added. “With the limited number of attacking players we've got I'm having to continually work out how to to this and in the end I had to put Mitch (Pinnock) up front. We were trying to win the game but also look towards Tuesday and not overexert Kieron.
"I thought Jordan came on at half-time and did well in the second half. Ali (Koiki) and Will (Hondermarck) added real energy to us but unfortunately I'm having to build their minutes at the moment and that's going to be tough with the schedule.”