It represented 10 months to the day since his previous Pompey appearance.
Reason for the Fratton faithful to be cheerful, then, when they glimpsed Wes Fogden making his long-awaited comeback.
Wes gives you that spark and energy in the middle of the park and hopefully he can get back involved a bit more nowAndy Awford
The 26-year-old climbed off the bench in the 78th minute to feature at the Sixfields Stadium on Tuesday night.
He couldn’t prevent Andy Awford’s men suffering a 1-0 defeat, although there were glimpses of what the midfielder can add to the side.
Pompey’s boss has long talked about having a new signing when the day arrived for Fogden to play once again following his summer knee ligament injury.
That arrived against Northampton, greeted by warm applause from the 798 travelling fans.
It was the ex-Bournemouth man’s maiden first-team outing since he faced Plymouth at Fratton Park on the final day of last season on May 3, 2014.
And Awford was delighted with how Fogden fared on his eagerly-anticipated return.
He said: ‘It was nice to see Wes back out there and my decision was not out of sentiment.
‘I felt it (putting him on as substitute) was the right thing to do, we needed as many attack-minded players on the pitch as we could get.
‘Andy Barcham and Jed Wallace were playing wide, we had three up front, Ben Chorley was playing up front in the end, while Wes was running forward from midfield.
‘We had to go for it. The other night it worked against Tranmere and got the win, on Tuesday evening unfortunately we didn’t manage to score.
‘Wes gives you that spark and energy in the middle of the park and hopefully he can get back involved a bit more now.
‘I thought he had scored at one point, he had a great chance, his energy got him there and it was a good ball across the box.
‘It looked like he had equalised, but unfortunately the ball went over the bar.’
The moment Awford referred to arrived in the 80th minute when Wallace whipped in a low cross from the right which Fogden slid over the bar from just outside the six-yard box.
Regardless, it was the latest hurdle safely negotiated by the midfield man as he seeks to break back into Awford’s starting line-up.
He made 19 appearances and scored twice last term after being recruited by Richie Barker in January 2014.
Now Fogden is eyeing plenty more Blues outings.