Kelvin Langmead admitted the Cobblers rode their luck in the final stages of their vital victory over Stevenage on Saturday.
Langmead played the full 90 minutes on his recall to the Town first team, his first full game for the senior side in more than 20 months.
He admitted it was ‘not an easy’ afternoon following an extended period out, initially with knee surgery, and then through an Achilles injury, but was pleased with the way the team defended against the visitors’ kitchen sink treatment.
“We needed to win that game today and we can be happy that we’ve done that,” he said.
“You need that part of the game (luck) as well at times and we’ve had some bad luck recently.
“That’s always going to happen whether you’re at home or away, when you’re holding onto a 1-0 lead the other team will always throw everything at you.
“We stood strong at the end, we’re delighted with the clean sheet and I think Jordan (Archer) has been magnificent when called upon, he’s helped us out in this one again.”
Langmead was given a warm reception by the supporters for his first start under manager Chris Wilder and thanked the fans for their backing through what has been a difficult period of his career.
“I’m not going to say it was an easy 90 minutes because it was tough on the legs but that was the first time I’d played since March 2013,” said the centre-back, whose post-match celebrations involved nothing more strenuous than a takeaway with his wife.
“It’s been a long road for me and it’s one I haven’t particularly enjoyed. It was a fantastic feeling to be part of a football team again.
“The fans have been unbelievable with me through the whole time I’ve been out injured and I genuinely can’t thank them enough.
“They stuck with me when not all fans do and they’ve supported me, as have all of my family behind me. Saturday was a big day for all of us.”