Northampton boss Aidy Boothroyd was relieved to pick up three vital points but annoyed his side almost threw it away again in a 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers.
Adebayo Akinfenwa struck twice inside the opening nine minutes and Kelvin Langmead headed home a third with only 20 minutes gone. Rovers rarely threatened before Craig Stanley pulled a goal back in the 66th minute and Lee Brown's 85th-minute penalty set up a tense finish.
"You need courage to keep hold of the ball in football matches and you have to be brave enough to stick to the game plan and we didn't," said Boothroyd. "You have to be calm in the chaos and we weren't, which nearly cost us. We started very well and scored three really good goals. We put them under a lot of pressure and deserved to be in front."
He added: "But in the second half we put ourselves under pressure. We knew they would come back at us in the second half and when they pulled a goal back I thought 'here we go again'. Then we gift them a penalty and both goals were very poor ones to concede.
"It was disappointing not to keep a clean sheet, but it's an important three points for us. It's not where we are the moment, it's where we are at the end of the season and I believe we can get out of it."
Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee was not happy with his players' approach to the first half. He said: "I wasn't that disappointed with the goals we conceded, but more our overall first-half performance. Northampton looked more up for it than us and we knew they would close us down quickly.
"I was disappointed because the game seemed more important to Northampton than to us in the first half.
"All I wanted to do in the second half was get some pride out of the game and the players did just that.
"Even at 2-0 down I thought we could still get something out of the game, but at 3-0 down it looked hopeless and I just wanted to win the second half by any score!
"We made some changes and got some energy in our play in the second half and almost got something out of it."