Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson believes the Cobblers’ five-man defence made it vital his team scored the first goal in Saturday’s game.
And the Bantams boss was delighted to see his leading goalscorer Nahki Wells register yet another goal to go with the winner he scored at Sixfields and a hat-trick at Northampton last season.
It was a simple strike, a tap-in from no more than two yards after a calamitous mix-up between Nathan Cameron, making his debut in a back five, and goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.
“Nahki has always done well against Northampton,” said Parkinson. “He scored a hat-trick against them last season and he scored the winner at their place.
“They set up with him in mind by playing the three central defenders and when a team does that the first goal is always so important.
“We should have killed the game off but I’m really pleased with how we played and the result we have got against a very tough side.”
Bradford could still finish in the npower League Two play-offs - they are two points behind seventh-placed Exeter City with a game in hand on the Grecians.
Reaching Wembley for a second time this season - Bradford lost 5-0 to Swansea City in the final of the Capital One Cup in February - would be a substantial achievement for the club who have played the most games in the entire Football League this term.
But Parkinson was retaining a short-term focus, choosing instead to pay tribute to his players for the effective way in which they dealt with the powerhouse threat of Town’s leading goalscorer, Adebayo Akinfenwa, who was introduced as a half-time substitute at Valley Parade.
“I was pleased with the way the defenders dealt with (Adebayo) Akinfenwa because we know he is a big player for them and a real force in the league,” he said.
“When you’re up against him you have to be smart and I thought they were that.
“If you try to get into a wrestling match you’re going to lose so you have to be smart and we were.”