Full-time: Robins 3, Northampton Town 2Cheltenham Town secured a much-needed win over Northampton Town by the odd goal in five at Whaddon Road.
The Robins had gone eight games in all competitions without a win but two goals by Terry Gornell and a third by John Marquis handed Mark Yates’ side all the points.
Gornell handed the Robins a narrow lead deep into first half injury time despite losing skipper Matt Taylor midway through the first half with a leg injury.
The Cobblers had their manager Chris Wilder sent off at the break for an incident in the tunnel but his side were back on terms just three minutes after the turnaround through Joel Byrom.
Gornell added his second 12 minutes from time and when Marquis struck with six minutes later, the points seemed certain.
But Cheltenham Town never make it easy for themselves, and at times they rode their luck.
Kaid Mohamed had struck the upright before David Moyo pulled one back moments later to set up a tense finish.
But they held on, just, to register a hard-fought win ahead of two tough trips to Cambridge United (on Tuesday) and Plymouth Argyle next weekend.
Yates made two changes to the side that lost at Burton Albion last weekend, bringing back Troy Brown in defence and Gornell up front. Out went Jack Deaman and Raffaele De Vita, dropped to the bench, as manager Mark Yates reverted to a 3-4-3 formation.
The Northampton side boasted three former Robins with Darren Carter and Mohamed starting on the bench, while Lawson D’Ath started in a three-man frontline and forced Trevor Carson into an early save from 18 yards.
For Cheltenham there were half-chances for Gornell and Lee Vaughan, but both were easily saved.
Taylor limped off with 26 minutes on the clock, slipping as D’Ath darted in from the right to tee up Chris Hackett who shanked an effort well wide.
The skipper seemed to know instantly that his game was over, and was replaced by Deaman.
All of a sudden Cheltenham looked vulreable and Northampton created a handful of chances to take advantage of the setback.
First Hackett fired over from 20 yards, after all three centre halves went for the same ball.
Ivan Toney then brought about a save with a downward header after meeting a delivery by Ricky Ravenhill from the left.
The experienced winger was booked a moment later for dissent, frustrated that referee Keith Hill had not seen an infringement on Toney when Cheltenham were defending a corner.
The incident infuriated manager Wilder so much that he was sent off at the break for confronting the referee in the tunnel.
Cheltenham began to get back on track and in the 34th minute, Jason Taylor forced Jordan Archer into a save at full stretch with a measured effort from the edge of the box.
Then Bancessi Eusebio, on his home debut, went close after some good work by Craig Braham-Barrett down the left, before Vaughan laced a volley over the target.
But the Robins were in front in first half injury time through Gornell’s first league goal of the campaign.
Matt Richards lifted a swinging free-kick to the far post, which Deaman headed back across goal. Gornell raced on to it and drew a sharp save but placed the rebound into the top right-hand corner.
Mohamed replaced Hackett for the Cobblers at the break, and his latest employers were on terms three minutes after the restart using the simplest of routes to goal.
It was a poor one to concede from a Cheltenham perspective, Enda Stevens picking up play in midfield and threading a ball into the path of Byrom, who rolled his effort under Carson.
Northampton could, and perhaps should have been in front just after the hour when Mohamed’s cool finish from 18 yards came back off the left upright after a sweeping move from left to right.
At the other end Gornell was denied by a fine stop after he met Vaughan’s ball from the right with a powerful header.
He didn’t have long to wait for his second though, scoring with 12 minutes to play when Richards had swung in another free-kick form the left where the Liverpudlian arrived to nod home.
Cheltenham looked home and hosed six minutes later when substitute Marquis bagged his first league goal for the club, again Richards the supplier.
The midfielder sent in another free-kick, this time from the right although it wasn’t a good one but it picked up a fortunate deflection and found Troy Brown at the far post.
He turned it back inside, and the former Northampton loanee to do the rest.
There was no celebration for the striker who played his part in last season’s great escape at Sixfields.
That should have been that, but just two minutes later David Moyo pulled one back, meeting Mohamed’s corner from the left with a glancing header to set up a tense finale.
But despite throwing everything at the Cheltenham defence, Northampton couldn’t find a way through.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): Carson; Brown, M Taylor (c) (Deaman 26), Elliott, Vaughan, Richards, J Taylor, Braham-Barrett; Eusebio (Hanks 81), Gornell, Harrison (Marquis 71). Subs not used: Haworth, Gould (Gk), Sterling-James, De Vita.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN (4-3-3): Archer; Alfei, Cresswell (c), Robertson, Stevens; Hackett (Mohamed 46), Ravenhill (O’Toole 81), Byrom; Toney, Nicholls (Moyo 63), D’Ath. Subs not used: Duke (Gk), Carter, Langmead, Tozer.
REFEREE: K Hill
ATTENDANCE: 2,447 (518 from Northampton)