Andy Williams scored the only goal of the game as Cobblers registered their first victory of the season with an extremely hard-fought 1-0 win away at previous league leaders Swindon Town on Tuesday.
Backs to the wall, smash and grab, call it what you will, this was a proper committed, disciplined away performance from Town who soaked up plenty of pressure before bagging themselves the only goal of the game.
Williams was the scorer, making amends for his miss at the weekend with a powerful finish from a tight angle midway through the second-half, Town’s first goal from open play of the season.
It would be easier to skim over an incident-free first-half and go straight to the second period when things eventually hotted up.
Swindon pressed and pressed but Cobblers stood firm and defended superbly, and with Williams lashing home via the woodwork - albeit with more than a hint of controversy about it - the visitors could, after some heart-in-mouth-moments, celebrate a pressure-reliving victory.
There were three changes to the team that lost to Macclesfield as Joe Bunney, Chris Lines and Andy Williams replaced Joe Martin, Matty Warburton and Harry Smith.
Keith Curle also reverted to four in defence with Shaun McWilliams at right-back and Jordan Turnbull moving into midfield, while the bench included five attacking players.
It took 14 minutes for the first shot to arrive at the County Ground and Lloyd Isgrove’s effort, which sailed well over the crossbar from 30 yards, was rather indicative of a first-half that was seriously light on talking points.
Cobblers defended well and occasionally threatened on the break with Sam Hoskins having a shot blocked and Turnbull shooting wide, but neither goalkeeper had a save to make in the opening 45 minutes.
Swindon built up a head of steam as half-time approached but important blocks from Turnbull and Charlie Goode ensured David Cornell remained a spectator up until the interval.
The dangerous Kaiyne Woolery drove into the box and saw his cross crucially cleared by Goode as Swindon picked up from where they left off at the start of the second-half.
The pressure built and built and on 55 minutes Cornell made his first save when tipping over Jordan Lyden’s header before Eoin Doyle’s shot was blocked in the box.
But Town struck against the run of play when, midway through the second-half, Ryan Watson flicked on to Williams who, despite looking suspiciously offside, brilliantly slammed in via the woodwork from a tight angle.
It took a few minutes for referee Craig Hicks to eventually confirm the goal amid protests from furious Swindon players who were adamant Williams was offside.
The goal stood though and immediately the Robins sought to put right that perceived injustice as Adam May slammed over the crossbar.
In truth, though, the visitors didn’t really create much in the remaining 15 or so minutes, thwarted by smart game management and gritty defending from the Cobblers, who survived six nerve-shredding minutes of stoppage before celebrating a precious win.
Swindon: McCormick, Fryers (Reid 61), Baudry, Doughty, Woolery, Lyden, Hunt, Conroy (c), May (Twine 73), Isgrove, Doyle
Subs not used: Broadbent, Henry, Iandolo, Curran, Ifill
Cobblers: Cornell, Wharton (Waters 70), Turnbull, Goode, Bunney, McWilliams, Lines, Watson, Adams, Hoskins, A Williams (Oliver 83)
Subs not used: Lashley, J Williams, Morias, Warburton, Smith
Referee: Craig Hicks
Cobblers fans: 345