Saints remain top of the pile
Northampton ended a three-game home try-drought to maintain top spot in Pool Four of the LV= Cup with victory 26-7 victory over Gloucester.
Saints had not scored a try in front of their own fans since November 24 but Luther Burrell and Alex Waller touched down in either half to end that barren spell and earn their side the victory.
Northampton can now secure a place in the semi-finals with victory in their final pool game at Exeter.
After recent defeats at home Northampton always looked in control of the contest and Gloucester may well rue turning down an easy shot at the posts after three minutes to go for the corner, with nothing coming from the attack.
Six minutes later Northampton were more sensible after Gloucester were caught offside in front of the posts and Ryan Lamb, making his first start at 10 since the December 7 home Heineken Cup defeat to Ulster, made it 3-0.
Ben Foden, looking to impress to win his place back his England place, was sharp early on, taking his own up-and-under superbly to set up an attack and with Saints showing the more attacking thrust in the opening quarter Lamb made it 6-0.
But from the restart a poor kick from flanker Samu Manoa saw Tim Molenaar slalom through a Northampton defence slipping and sliding all over the already heavily cut-up pitch.
Gloucester recycled five metres out and Ryan Mills went through scrum-half Martin Roberts to touch down. Mills converted to make it 7-6 after 26 minutes.
Saints retook the lead when, after good work from the forwards got them up to Gloucester's 22, big centre Burrell ran through a huge hole in the visitor's defensive line for his fifth try in 13 appearances this season. Lamb made it 13-7.
With Brian Mujati injured and Paul Doran Jones with England Saxons, third-choice tighthead Tom Mercey was still winning penalties at scrum time for Northampton, with one drive sending Gloucester, who lost tighthead Dario Chistolini
just before half-time, back five metres.
From one scrum penalty Saints launched the first attack of the second half but Foden butchered an overlap 15 metres from the try-line.
After 55 minutes Northampton swapped their half-backs and Stephen Myler caught everybody by surprise by running through a gap with his first touch and the resulting attack brought a penalty which he slotted to make it 16-7.
Mills missed a penalty soon after and he was made to pay as Myler added another three points to increase Northampton's lead.
Myler kicked his next penalty into the corner and Saints brought on three fresh forwards for the lineout. It worked a treat as Waller broke off the maul to score, with Myler adding the conversion to make it 26-7 with 12 minutes to go.
Speedy hooker Mike Haywood almost scored a sensational try from his 10m line to round things off but his final pass with the line begging went awry.