Cobblers manager Chris Wilder admitted he had to ‘get into’ his players at half-time of their vital win at Exeter City.
The Town boss was furious with the way his side had performed during the first 45 minutes, stating that everyone - with the exception of centre-backs Zander Diamond and Mathias Doumbe - was off the pace.
He stressed the importance of the early stages of the second half to his underperforming players during a heated dressing-room dressing down that seemed to do the trick.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, substitute Ian Morris - who was almost introduced during the interval - had given the visitors the lead and they held on to it to secure a hugely significant 1-0 win.
“We don’t know how big a result this will be for us - if we take it on it will be, if we don’t it won’t,” said a delighted Wilder after the game.
“I’ve got a bit of a headache and a bit of a sore throat and me and Alan (Knill) had to work extra hard during that first half because we didn’t play with any quality.
“It was maybe the kind of performance that has put us in this position and we were very disappointed with it; we got into them at half-time and we were the better side in the second half.
“Exeter were better than us in the first half we were perhaps a touch fortunate to be level at half-time - I said to the players at that point that we were about to face a massive five or 10 minutes in our season.
“We got a great reaction from the players and I can’t deny that it’s a big three points for us.”
The first 45 minutes of the game saw the Cobblers produce arguably their worst performance under Wilder, and the manager was at a loss to explain why it happened.
“I wish I could,” he said. “That’s football, that’s the game and you’d love your team to be firing on all cylinders for every minute of every game but it doesn’t happen.
“We sat back and we allowed them too much time and space which gave them a head of steam, although they only had one chance really.
“Our standards with and without the ball were way below what they have been but that happens sometimes, Rory McIlroy doesn’t always shoot a 67.”