Northampton Town have confirmed that manager Stuart Gray has left the Coca-Cola League Two club.
The 49-year-old led the club to relegation from League One last season and has seen the Cobblers make a slow start to life back in the bottom division.
Chairman David Cardoza had stated that he expected the club to win instant promotion but Friday night's 3-1 home defeat by Barnet capped a poor run of performances and forced the club to end Gray's two-and-a-half-year reign.
Cardoza said: "It is with a heavy heart that we, the club, and Stuart Gray have come to this decision but it is necessary to consider what is in the best interests of the club both long term and to try and win promotion this season.
"The board gave Stuart every opportunity to strengthen the squad this summer and to build a squad capable of taking the club straight back up.
"Although Stuart brought some good players to the club our results and performances have been very disappointing for both the club and our very loyal supporters.
"Stuart took us to one of our highest league finishes in 40 years just 16 months ago and he attracted some very good players to the club.
"But there always comes a time when a manager has to move on for the good of the club."
Supporters had grown frustrated with Gray in recent weeks after the sale of defender Danny Jackman to Gillingham and a perceived lack of investment into the side.
Top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa was also allowed to discuss a move to Championship side Swansea on transfer deadline day, though the Welsh club pulled out of the deal.
Assistant manager and former captain Ian Sampson has been placed in temporary charge of the club, who travel to take on Sven Goran-Eriksson's Notts County on Saturday.
Cardoza added: "There will be plenty of speculation as to who the new manager might or might not be but we must make sure we get the right man.
"No one is ruled in or ruled out of becoming the next manager of Northampton Town and I am sure we will be an attractive proposition to a lot of potential managers."