PAGE: IT HURTS – NOW I NEED THAT BOUNCE
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.
“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.”
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