The last time Jeff Whitley played for Notts County was the last time they won at home until this victory.
With Whitley back on a month's loan from Manchester City and handed the captains armband, Notts won at Meadow Lane for the first time this season, at the seventh attempt.
What's more it was an immediate comeback by County after a dreadful display seven days earlier at Huddersfield, which not only led to Whitley's recall but a midfield shake-up by manager Bill Dearden.
In a fast, open and exciting game to which Northampton made a spirited contribution it was amazing that there were no goals in the first half.
Notts squandered several good chances and two in particular. Mark Stallard failed to get sufficient force into a shot, allowing Lee Harper to save, and Paul Heffernan when unmarked headed wide from five yards.
If the first half had been entertaining, play moved up a gear at the start of the second 45 minutes and it took Notts only five minutes to establish a lead.
Defender Simon Ramsden hit a superb diagonal pass into the path of Stallard who eluded his marker to ram the ball home.
Northampton's comeback was both strong and immediate with Marco Gabbiadini a handful.
However, when the visitors levelled after 80 minutes it was Derek Asamoah who found the target with a lovely piece of work after he had been freed just in from the right touchline.
After that, the game was anybody's, but Notts made it their own three minutes later. Heffernan atoned for his earlier miss by rifling the ball inside Harper's right-hand post from 20 yards.
Notts have often fallen victim to late concessions, but on this occasion they held firm to the relief of the their long-suffering fans