Chris Wilder admitted he was left drained at the end of the Cobblers’ ‘great escape’ season but that he always felt the team would be strong enough to stay up.
Town preserved their Football League status with a 3-1 win over Oxford United, with goals from John Marquis, Ivan Toney and Mathias Doumbe keeping them among the 92.
It was an outcome that looked unlikely after Oxford took a sixth-minute lead and Wycombe went in front at Torquay, scorelines that pushed Northampton into the bottom two in the live league two table.
But Ryan Williams, who had scored for Oxford, was sent off to hand the home side the momentum and their win, added to that for Wycombe at Plainmoor, meant it was Bristol Rovers who will be playing non-league football next season.
“I’m drained but I’m elated that we’ve stayed up,” said Wilder.
“I had a quick chat with the players and it’s strange because this is the last time you’re all together so I thanked them for all their efforts.
“I’ve never wavered in my belief that these were a group of League players but we’ve had to work extra hard to get the results.
“We’ve been one of the form teams over the past few months and people were saying we were dead and buried so the players deserve an enormous amount of credit.”
There were some boisterous celebrations from the Sixfields fans - who helped the club record their second-highest attendance ever at the ground - but Wilder was pleased simply to have achieved his first target.
“We can’t be in this position again,” he said. “Everyone will have a reason why it’s happened but the season started for me when we walked in the door.
“Everyone at the club has been first-class and it was important that we repaid the chairman’s belief in us.
“Nobody is jumping through hoops and saying we’ve had a fantastic season because we haven’t, but we’ve done the job that we were brought in to do.”