Hereford finally achieved their first away win of the season after battling back from the shock of conceding a goal inside 30 seconds.

The memory of the Bulls’ last away win – in March at Carlisle – seemed so distant that the only player on the pitch who played that night was ex-Bull Steve Guinan, who led the Northampton attack.

Darren Jones fired the Bulls level with Mathieu Manset scoring his first league goal and substitute Craig King adding the third.

Boss John Trewick revised his attacking options for the trip to Sixfields.

Leon Constantine, Gavin McCallum, and King were all relegated to the substitutes’ bench, with virus victim Kenny Lunt missing out.

Into the team came top-scorer Marc Pugh, Manset and Jonny Godsmark with loanee Nathaniel Wedderburn handed a start in midfield.

Former Bull Steve Guinan was named to lead the Cobblers attack.

Even by their standards, Hereford made a disastrous start.

Adebayo Akinfenwa raced away down the right and his cross, which was dummied by Guinan, was thumped into the net by Ryan Gilligan.

There were just 29 seconds on the clock.

Hereford took some time to re-group after this setback but gradually found their touch and Manset shot just over from 30 yards after seven minutes.

Josh Walker, who was hurt in the action leading up to Manset’s shot, had to be stretchered off but he disruption did not faze the home side with Billy McKay, who had earlier had a shot saved by Adam Bartlett, seeing another effort deflected for a corner.

But Hereford hit back and levelled on 15 minutes.

Jordon Mutch’s corner bounced around the Cobblers’penalty area before being thumped into the net by Jones.

Both sides continued to attack and, after a dangerous Godsmark cross was caught by Chris Dunn, Bartlett parried away a fierce shot by Andy Holt.

A Jordon Mutch shot flashed across the face of the goal before, at the other end, a Hereford boot sliced a corner dangerously close to an own goal.

Hereford should have gone ahead on 31 minutes.

Pugh, after a neat build-up drove his cross to the far post where Godsmark drove the ball wide from a yard out. It was a terrible miss.

Hereford had a scare seven minutes before the break when Bartlett grabbed the ball after it ricocheted off Akinfenwa’s shin a couple of yards out.

And McKay sent a ferocious drive inches over moments later.

Godsmark missed another great chance when he was too slow to convert after Manset flicked on a Pugh cross.

Mutch and Wedderburn, who had shown a good deal of promise in midfield, both hit shots wide of the target in the lead-up to the interval.

Guinan had the ball in the net three minutes into the second period but was ruled offside.

But Hereford were still lively in attack and Manset drilled a low shot straight at Dunn.

Akinfenwa should have done better for the home side, though, when he headed a Peter Gilbert corner over from six yards.

The Bulls took the lead with 11 minutes of the second half played.

Mutch’s free-kick from 35 yards was too hot for Dunn to handle; the keeper parried and Manset headed in from a yard out.

Hereford still looked stretched in defence on occasion and a Dyer cross was deflected on to the roof of the net before Guinan headed the resulting header over.

But Pugh should have extended the Hereford lead when he headed over from Keith Lowe’s 71st minute right-wing cross.

Four minutes later, however, Hereford did add to their lead when Pugh got away on the left and picked out substitute King who fired home.

Hereford: Bartlett; Jones, Green, Valentine; Lowe, Wedderburn, Mutch, Valentine; Godsmark (King, 66 min), Manset, Pugh. Subs not used: Adamson, Rose, Gwynne, McCallum, Constantine, Done.

Northampton: Dunn; Johnson, Hinton, Swailes, Gilbert; Walker (Dyer, 11 min), Gilligan, McKay (Herbert, 72 min), Holt; Guinan, Akinfenwa (Curtis, 60 min). Subs not used: Rodgers, Mulligan, Brown, Kanyuka.

Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey).

Attendance: 3,524 (166 from Hereford).

Goals: Gilligan, 1 min, 1-0; Jones, 15 min, 1-1; Manset, 57 min, 1-2; King, 75 min, 1-3; Yellow cards: Hereford – Godsmark, foul, 34 min; Northampton – Swailes, foul, 32 min; Johnson, foul, 77 min.