Cobblers boss Chris Wilder almost ran out of superlatives after his side wrapped up a memorable season with yet another highly-impressive performance when beating Portsmouth 2-1 on Saturday.
After a Jack Watmough own goal was cancelled out by Kal Naismith’s second-half screamer, Northampton returned from Fratton Park with all three points thanks to a late winner from James Collins.
It was a deserved victory too as the Cobblers always appeared a class above Portsmouth, who were reduced to 10 men shortly after half-time when Kieron Freeman was dismissed for a straight red card.
But even prior to that, Northampton looked the better side as another hard-working, committed and classy performance yielded three deserved points.
It left Wilder beaming with pride afterwards as the boss showered his side with praise for the umpteenth time this season.
“Today epitomised where we’re at,” he said. “We got ourselves ahead, they scored a screamer and then we’ve won it.
“At various times this season this group could have taken their foot off the gas – whether that was not getting paid, the takeover or going into the last six or eight weeks when we’ve been up.
“We’ve just kept going and kept going. These players could have downed tools and said ‘we’re up so we’re done’ and could have been on the beach but they’ve certainly not been on the beach.
“They weren’t on the beach in training and they weren’t on the beach before the game. They wanted to win and I have nothing but the utmost respect for a fantastic and special group of players.”
More clubs records were broken courtesy of Saturday’s result, most notably for fewest defeats (5) and fewest away defeats (2) in a season.
“We’ve lost two away games all season and that’s phenomenal,” added Wilder.
“We lost at Barnet and lost at Cambridge when we should have got something but we’ve been tough, we’ve been aggressive, we’ve competed, disciplined, organised and we’ve played.
“We’ve beaten quality teams on their own patch, whether it’s Portsmouth or Plymouth or Wycombe, and we’ve got results in every different way and every different location and to do that is incredible.”
Wilder also expressed his appreciation for Portsmouth who applauded Northampton both before and after the game.
He added: “It was a tough game against an excellent set of players no matter who they had out playing.
“They’re a quality group and it’s a proper football club and a class act.
“Our players got clapped off and everyone in the ground that we’ve come across has shook our hand and congratulated us and that’s spot on.”