Cobblers boss Chris Wilder felt his side were full value for their victory after beating promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at Home Park on Tuesday night.
In an evenly-matched, tight game, a terrible error by Plymouth keeper Luke McCormick gifted James Collins a debut goal and Northampton a vital lead, which they doubled through Marc Richards when the skipper finished off a free-flowing move on 58 minutes.
Gregg Wylde pulled one back late on but despite Plymouth chucking everything they had at the visitors, Cobblers stood firm to claim three more valuable points in their quest for promotion.
“It was a deserved result,” said Wilder. “It was a long journey down, we had a tough game on Saturday and we’ve come up against the league leaders and I think we’ve fully deserved our victory.
“The general all-round play tonight was really good. We broke the play up, we dominated possession and apart from the last five minutes where we’ve switched off and allowed them back into it, I didn’t think they really created anything but we had opportunities on the counter to go and score the third.
“The conditions were tough, the pitch wasn’t great and the selection of their team told us the way they were going to play with a lot of height and a lot of pace and a lot of strength, but I thought my players matched that and when we got the chance to play, we played well.
“We should have been out of sight before their goal.
“It was a great second goal and great for Collo (Collins) to get off the mark and I’m delighted because it was a big test for us and I think we’ve fully deserved the result.”
Wilder reserved special praise for Collins after the on-loan Shrewsbury man marked his debut with the opening goal when side-footing into an empty net after stealing the ball off a hesitant McCormick.
Wilder added: “He chased it down and got his reward. He’s been great since he’s come into the building.
“I thought him and Marc Richards were an handful up front for them all night when we got the ball up to them, and we played some decent stuff.
“There was a period in the second half where I really thought we’d take it away from them.
“There was a few dubious free-kick decisions that went against us but we’ve handled everything chucked at us - whether it’s their team selection, the pitch, the long journey or us playing Saturday.
“They did chuck it forward late on but my players handled that and it’s a big three points for us.”