AN ENTIRE decade has passed since Torquay United last beat Northampton at Sixfields.
I should know; I was there on that gloriously warm and sunny summer afternoon in the August of 2003 to see the Gulls – who would go on to gain automatic promotion to League One that season under Leroy Rosenior– play the promotion favourites off the pitch.
The mercurial Jason Fowler scored a wonderfully placed effort into the corner from around 20 yards for a 1-0 win.
Before that, you have to go back through another 10 years of wretched misery to January 1993 to find a win in Northampton. The omens, then, weren't great.
It's only a 20-minute drive for me – practically a home game – and I see the odd yellow shirt dotted around as I get nearer to the ground, and they increase in number as I walk down the hill overlooking the stadium, and in through the throngs of home supporters outside the main stand.
Aggrieved at having shelled out the princely sum of £25 for a ticket and a programme before I've even stepped into the ground, I take my seat in the swirling wind and rain, reflecting that it is at least slightly warmer than the last time I watched us here (March 2013, with snow still lying around the edge of the pitch).
As the game draws nearer, and the tension starts to build, I spot something that won't ever be experienced by any Premier League fan; midfielder Nathan Craig and defender Kyrtis McKenzie are in the away stand chatting with fans, before sitting with the Yellow Army for the entire game. I'm also informed that Alan Knill came over to chat with the faithful before the game – most who have travelled a long way further than I have – which just reinforces how great football is at this level, and the connection we as fans get with our heroes.
As for the game, we are absolutely taken apart in a dismal first half.
Northampton could conceivably have gone in at the break two or three goals to the good, such was their dominance. Thankfully it was only the one and things could, at least, only get better.
The singing and chanting reflected the performance, making a bright start before quickly fading away into tumbleweed as the half wore on.
But a blistering second half – and two wonderful goals from young Jordan Chapell – ensured that the two hundred or so in the away end would all be going home a touch hoarse, as we're sent into a state of delirium, twice, inside six minutes.
A chant of 'same old Torquay, always cheating' starts up from a small group of home fans when Aaron Downes cuts his head open in a thunderous challenge with Clive Platt. It's a new one on me.
After six (yes, SIX!) minutes of agonising, nail-biting injury time, the full-time whistle is greeted by huge roars for the men in yellow and white, who each come over to acknowledge the fans, receiving a handshake and a pat on the back from Mr Knill before the man himself comes over to the travelling fans to take the applause.
He gets a few hero worship gestures directed back at him.
I make my way back to the car through the hordes of disgruntled Northampton fans with my Torquay shirt on, bursting with pride, and pass the journey home enjoying listening to the local radio, as an endless stream of Cobblers fans ring and text in to register their disgust.
It's the little things – and, let's face it, one has to savour these moments when you support Torquay.
But it is a job well done. The season is now officially under way, I'm already looking forward to Saturday at Plainmoor next week for the visit of Hartlepool, and it's only another 10 more years to wait until the next win at Sixfields.