Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell, was left to rue key moments as the Spireites suffered a 3-1 defeat to Northampton Town at the Sixfields Stadium.
A first half brace from Cobbler’s midfielder John-Joe O’Toole and a Marc Richards header gave the home side a 3-0 lead, before David Faupala pulled one back in the 54th minute.
Caldwell said: “I think we played okay in the first half when in possession, but we lost two crazy goals and then had a ten-minute spell where we were under the cosh and struggled to recover.
“But the moments in the game where we have to better are crucial, obviously goals can change games and it’s a lesson for us that we have to take on the chin.
“It’s not going to be easy, there’s going to be ups and downs and there are quite a few downs at the minute, but the players have to keep believing, and you could see in our reaction second half, they never threw the towel in and kept going.
“But for a bit of quality in the final third later on, or being a bit more patient, I think we could have got back in the game and got something from it.”
One of the game’s key moments came early in the second half, when midfielder Liam Grimshaw latched on to Jon Nolan’s lofted pass.
Grimshaw tried to lob the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Adam Smith, only to be denied by Smith’s outstretched hand.
Moments later the home side won a free kick on their right flank, from which Richards made it 3-0.
“That’s football,” said a frustrated Caldwell. “It could have been 2-1 and we’d have been back in the game, but they have a free kick and it’s 3-0, so those are the key moments we have to get right.
“I said to the players that they have to believe in what they are doing, because they are doing a lot right – and as crazy as that sounds having lost a game 3-1, we have to keep believing in that.
“We’ve gifted them three points today, Northampton didn’t have to do a lot to win the game. They will have played better on occasions this season, and we’ve been our own downfall this afternoon.
“We have to learn from that, there’s important moments in games that we aren’t getting right and we have to improve.”
Caldwell stuck to the 3-5-2 system that he used in last week’s match with Oldham, and despite that formation not earning a victory, it’s one that the manager may use again going forward.
He said: “I think we can play different formations, and I think it was working even though we were 2-0 down.
“I still have to try and look at the game and without taking the score into consideration, and there were moments in the game where we were in great positions.
“Dion [Donohue], was a real outlet for us from centre back bringing the ball from deep, and it’s just the final ball wasn’t there, and that’s why I felt that I didn’t need to change it. In the second half, we became more dominant.
“Dion breaking from that deep position was excellent, and caused them problems all day, we should have got more from that and caused Northampton even more problems.”
The defeat at Sixfields leaves the Spireites second from bottom in Sky Bet League One, five points from safety with a game in hand.
Up next is a trip to the 18th placed Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday night, another important fixture.
A defiant Caldwell added: “There’s 16 games left, I look at them all and I’ve said to the players that we can win any of them – if we get it right.
“I look at every game as an opportunity, and I hope the players do to and get it right on Tuesday.
“There’s no positives when you get beat, but we’re here to win, we’ll analyse the game and take things out of it and try to improve.
“There are areas we have to improve, I’ve no doubt about that, but I also see a lot of potential in the squad and we have to keep believing in each other.”