PAGE: IT HURTS – NOW I NEED THAT BOUNCE

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Steven Coney

NORTHAMP­TON TOWN boss Rob Page believes his side has what it takes to turn their form around but ac­cepts the crit­i­cism com­ing his way.

The Cob­blers hosted fifth­placed Rochdale in League One yes­ter­day des­per­ate to put the em­bar­rass­ment of their Tues­day night FA Cup exit at the hands of Non-League Stour­bridge be­hind them. Stour­bridge play in the sev­enth tier of English foot­ball, four di­vi­sions be­low Northamp­ton, but com­pletely out­played Page’s men from first whis­tle to last in the re­ar­ranged sec­ond-round tie. The Cob­blers didn’t man­age a shot on tar­get all night and, had it not been for good saves from keeper David Cor­nell. could have been two or three be­hind by the time Stour­bridge won it late on Iron­i­cally, it was Cor­nell’s er­ror – he came for and missed a flighted Luke Ben­bow free-kick – that al­lowed de­fender Jack Dug­gan to smash home the win­ner at the back post with four min­utes left.

Page looked vis­i­bly shell­shocked af­ter the game and made no ex­cuses as the Non-League side claimed a de­served Cup up­set.

“I’m em­bar­rassed,” he said. “I’m bit­terly dis­ap­pointed be­cause the bet­ter team won on the evening and it hurts me to say that.

“Credit has to go to them. We had to de­fend our box as there were long throws and crosses com­ing in.

“In the main we did it, but then we switch off for one minute and the ball’s in the back of the net. It’s a hard one to take.”

Asked if there were any pos­i­tives to take from the match, the Welsh­man added: “No. I wouldn’t do that to em­bar­rass my­self. Stour­bridge thor­oughly de­served it.”

Page ad­mit­ted the re­sult, and per­for­mance had come out of the blue. De­spite los­ing four League One games in a row since the sec­ond-round draw was made, they won 3-2 last Satur­day at the boss’ for­mer side, Port Vale. It was ex­pected to be a spark ahead of the busy fes­tive pe­riod.

Camped

“I put out the same side that had a fan­tas­tic win at Port Vale. It was 99 per cent the same team that fin­ished the Bolton game camped in their half,” Page said.

“We em­bar­rassed our­selves. We’re hurt and we have to take any crit­i­cism we get from thi,s but it’s im­por­tant that we move on and quickly.

“We’ve proven in the past that we’re ca­pa­ble of bouncing back and we have to do that again.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

GRA­CIOUS IN DE­FEAT: Rob Page said Stour­bridge de­served it HIS­TORY MADE: Jack Dug­gan scores Stour­bridge’s late win­ner that earns a third-round tie at Wy­combe MIXED NIGHT: Cor­nell

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