Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe labelled his side’s performance against Northampton as “unacceptable” after they were beaten 2-0 by the relegation strugglers.
The Cobblers propped up the Sky Bet League One table before kick-off but turned in an impressive home performance to claim their first victory of 2021.
Ryan Watson scored either side of half-time to lift Northampton to 22nd and leave Lowe frustrated, particularly as the defeat came just three days after his side’s impressive win over Lincoln.
“I thought we went from a good team to a bad team in 48 hours because that performance was not acceptable,” said Lowe.
“It was the Lord Mayor’s show on Saturday and a bad show tonight. I’ve said a few things to the lads afterwards which will stay between us but they know it’s unacceptable.
“I don’t know if it’s a mentality thing but that sums up our inconsistency. The players are disappointed and rightly so but we’ve got to be better because we don’t want to be an average team in this league – we want to push and push and see where it takes us.
“We can’t carry anyone. We’ve got to be at 100 per cent week in, week out to win games of football but today we were nowhere near those levels.
“We knew what we were coming up against tonight and we didn’t leave any stones unturned as staff but the players didn’t do their bit.
“Fair play to Northampton, they’re fighting for their lives and they put bodies on the line. We created chances but Northampton sat in and our passing didn’t penetrate them enough. We passed a lot backwards.”
Watson’s two goals meant Jon Brady claimed his first victory as Northampton caretaker manager.
“It’s very pleasing,” said Brady. “I thought we scored at the right times and we managed the game very well.
“Every single player, to a man, worked extremely hard and to get a result like that, you need eight or nine players to be better than the opposition and I thought everyone came to the table tonight.
“(Jonathan) Mitchell has got some criticism but he showed great character and the boys showed great character and for me, I feel that has to be a start for us in terms of managing the game because we were up against a good side.
“We believe the performances have been stronger and these boys are trying to back each other up like you wouldn’t believe but sometimes, they’re overcovering and they’re leaving a big hole somewhere else and that has cost us.
“But tonight it felt like it all came together and that was a proper team performance.”