Determined Cobblers thrill boss Hasselbaink as they move clear of trouble with Dons triumph
The three points were all that really mattered for Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who hailed the 'determination' and 'togetherness' of his players after they survived a barrage of late pressure to beat MK Dons 2-1 at Sixfields on Saturday.
Dons edged the first-half but were behind after John-Joe O'Toole squirmed in a 16th minute opener and Alex Gilbey immediately levelled, only for Chris Long to position himself perfectly to prod in Town's second.
The home side were then comfortable for most of the second-half and had enough presentable chances to put the game to bed but their failure to do so made for a nail-biting finale as Dons poured forward without success.
They were repelled by some desperate defending and three excellent saves by goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell, who brilliantly kept out Marcus Tavernier's last-gasp free-kick to preserve the points, with Dons' misery completed by Chuks Aneke's late sending off.
"The most important thing is the three points," said Hasselbaink. "In spells, we were brilliant and that was good to see but in other spells there were mistakes and things that we must improve on and get better.
"We can't make those mistakes but today was the first time that back four played together so I can't complain because they did ever so well.
"We found an extra man because of how the opposition played and they understood it and we got in from that and scored from two crosses.
"We had more chances to score so in that aspect I can't complain and I won't complain - we just want more and we will try to get more while keeping that positive feeling for as long as possible and work on the things that didn't go so well.
"What we need to understand is what the negatives are because you need to know your weaknesses and that's what we need to focus on."
Matt Crooks and Long both had opportunities to make it 3-1 in the second-half but it was a tense finish with Dons throwing everything forward, however Town held on for a third straight league win which lifts them out of the bottom four and all the way up to 18th.
"Richard made a great save but I think we can stop it," added Hasselbaink. "That's where we need to come more alive and not give that chance away.
"But, I must say, the determination and the togetherness were second to none and the atmosphere was amazing. It was the biggest crowd of the season and we must say thank you very much for the support. It was a great atmosphere."