Cobblers boss Rob Page insisted he derived no extra pleasure from beating his old club on Saturday after Northampton clinched a thrilling 3-2 victory over Port Vale.
Having opted to swap Vale Park for Sixfields in the summer, Page received a mixed reception from the home faithful at the weekend as he made a winning return to his old stomping ground.
The three points came as a huge relief as much as anything for both Northampton and Page, who arrested a four-game losing streak with a hard-fought but deserved victory.
Gabriel Zakuani’s bullet header midway through the first-half was cancelled out by Ryan Taylor within six minutes of the restart, but after spurning several clear-cut chances to make the game safe, Northampton eventually saw Vale off through close-range finishes from Sam Hoskins and Paul Anderson.
Rigino Cicilia’s stoppage time goal was nothing more than a consolation as Northampton ensured Page’s return was a happy one.
And after finally ending that horrid run of form, the Cobblers boss was relieved just to notch up three points whichever way they came.
But did he take extra satisfaction because the win came against his old employers?
“No,” he insisted. “We needed a win irrespective of who we were playing against. I wanted a win and the boys wanted a win.
“It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks with the four defeats we’ve had and what’s more frustrating is that we haven’t played badly in those games - we’ve been in all of them.
“Our own doing as cost us so it was important we got back to winning ways, irrespective of who we played.”
Page stuck with the same 11 throughout Saturday’s game but a tactical tweak in the second-half, which saw Hoskins move to a central role, helped Northampton swing a to-and-fro contest back their way following Vale’s equaliser.
On his decision not to make a single change throughout the 94 minutes, Page said: “We stuck with them because we knew we were still in the game and we didn’t want to be too clever and make a change for the sake of it.
“I didn’t want to disrupt the momentum of the game because even though the likes of Ando was struggling, he gets his second wind and grows into the game again.
“There was two or three that did that and when I needed them at the end, they put their tin hats on and defended well.
“That’s our foundation and our base. The work-rate, attitude and commitment was exceptional on Saturday and we’ll need that again on Tuesday at Stourbridge.
“If we match them on that, hopefully our quality will shine through.”