Lawson D’Ath wrote his name in Cobblers folklore with a second-half brace to knock Wolverhampton Wanderers out of the Capital One Cup at Molineux.
D’Ath struck twice after coming on as a substitute, either side of an Ivan Toney header, to give Northampton their biggest cup giantkilling since the victory at Liverpool in September 2010.
Manager Chris Wilder spoke before the game about a need for ‘a few things’ to go his side’s way and Wolves will argue they did, with three first-half efforts ruled out for offside.
But Town were good value for their win - they had a lot of the ball, were positive with it and asked lots of questions of a high-quality opponent.
D’Ath will get the majority of the plaudits but this was another win, a second on the bounce to start the season with, in which the success had its roots in a solid team ethic.
There was a reshuffle in the Cobblers forward line but not the change many had expected, with Marc Richards dropping to the bench in favour of Ivan Toney and John-Joe O’Toole’s place in the side maintained.
Evan Horwood and Ian Morris replaced the injured Chris Hackett and Darren Carter and Alex Nicholls was named on a Town team sheet for the first time in 22 months, alongside youth-team players Sam Warburton (son of Ray) and Ben Jackson among the substitutes.
Former Sixfields player of the year Michael Jacobs lined up on the left wing and had the first good chance of the game, cutting inside and hitting a right-footed shot that deflected narrowly past Matt Duke’s right-hand post.
It signalled the start of a decent spell of Wolves pressure that ended with Leon Clarke heading in a deep James Henry cross, although it was from an offside position and the flag was duly raised.
It was the first of three efforts ruled out for offside for the home side, to the obvious and vocal annoyance of their supporters.
Ivan Toney had a shot blocked away for a corner after a good period of Northampton possession on the half-hour mark and Danny Alfei saw a scuffed effort trickle into the hands of keeper Aaron McCarey.
Ricky Ravenhill stung McCarey’s hands with a shot from distance after a neat Kaid Mohamed flick but the teams went in at half-time with honours even at 0-0.
O’Toole found himself in in a good shooting position early in the second half after Toney had held the ball up for him, but his left-footed effort was straight at McCarey, and Morris clipped a long-range effort narrowly over the target.
D’Ath was introduced on 56 minutes for his debut and made an impact prior to his goal, rattling a couple of first-time crosses into the danger zone after piercing Mohamed runs.
But the best came less than two minutes after his entrance, as he collected the rebound from a blocked Toney shot and hit a low and somewhat tame shot under McCarey and into the far corner.
The game exploded into life at that point, Toney doubling the visitors’ unlikely advantage when he stooped to head home Mohamed’s corner.
Wolves were planning a double substitution before the corner was taken and went through with it, with one of the newly-introduced players, Nouha Dicko, slamming in from six yards to halves the deficit.
A fourth goal in the space of eight minutes then came, when left-back Sam Ricketts struck a perfect shot from 25 yards inside Duke’s left-hand post.
It was a sweet strike but will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the defenders, who were caught cold by the fact the left-back took it early and with his weaker foot.
The drama, however, had not ended, and D’Ath added another chapter to his glorious debut with a headed goal to put Northampton back in front.
Mohamed struck a shot which squirmed up off a defender, D’Ath gambled, and won, heading over the out-of-position McCarey to restore the visitors’ advantage.
Toney again went close with a header at a corner before making way for Marc Richards, to a heroes’ reception from the travelling support.
They all got one at full-time. And they all fully deserved it.
Wolves: 4-4-2: McCarey; Doherty, Ebanks-Landell, Stearman, Ricketts; Henry, Price, Evans, Jacobs; McAlinden, Clarke
Subs: Sako (for Clarke 63), Dicko (for Henry 63), Edwards (for McAlinden 83)
Not used: Ikeme, Edwards, Batth, McDonald, van La Parra
Cobblers: 4-2-3-1: Duke; Alfei, Diamond, Collins, Robertson; Morris, Ravenhill; Mohamed, O’Toole, Horwood; Toney
Subs: D’Ath (for Horwood 56), Tozer (for Alfei 69), Richards (for Toney 83)
Not used: Nicholls, Moyo, Warburton, Jackson
Referee: Stuart Attwell