The Cobblers glowed in the snow at Aldershot to record only a third away win of the season but one that puts them third in the npower League Two table.
In bizarre playing conditions, a Chris Hackett penalty and Clarke Carlisle’s first goal of his second spell with the club despatched the Shots on their own ground.
The win means Town have overtaken Rotherham, Cheltenham and Exeter City to move into the automatic promotion places, six points behind second-placed Gillingham.
This was a really good game, in which the unique playing conditions generated lots of errors and plenty of goalmouth incident.
After a lengthy deliberation referee Darren Deadman passed the playing surface, which by two hours before kick-off had become a carpet of white, fit for play.
Town took to the field in a 4-5-1 formation with leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa on the bench, Clive Platt operating as the lone striker and former Aldershot man Luke Guttridge as the midfield anchor.
The system failed to function immediately, Peter Vincenti sending Adam Mekki free down the right to fire in a low cross that Dani Lopez stabbed home among the snow for the game’s first goal.
Jake Robinson was close to connecting with a Lewis Hornby ball across the goal and Carlisle fired a shot inches wide as Northampton looked to make an instant response.
Robinson then started an excellent move down the left that ended with Joe Widdowson tumbling in the box under a Mekki challenge, only for referee Deadman to wave away appeals for a penalty.
The same combination that provided Aldershot’s first goal should have doubled the home side’s advantage from an almost identical position, but Guttridge recovered to slide in and clear for a corner.
Penalty appeals were ringing in the referee’s ears again on 20 minutes when Michael Hector inexplicably chose to punch the ball when challenging for a header. This time, it was given, and Hackett buried it.
Minutes later, Hornby intelligently turned his marker and hit a left-footed shot that drifted just wide with the aid of a deflection.
Both teams struggled to find their footing at times so it was no surprise to see Northampton’s second goal come with the ball in the air, Carlisle ramming home a header inside the six-yard box from Hackett’s inswinging corner.
The move had started with a long punt from defence that held up in the snow in Aldershot’s right-back area, Robinson’s industry seeing him get to it first and eventually win the corner.
The second half was no less entertaining.
On the hour mark Hackett used his experience to win a free-kick that ended with him rattling off a shot that squirmed wide with the aid of a couple of deflections while Aldershot had their moments at the other end, notably when Danny Rose skimmed an effort narrowly off target.
Hackett almost had a second when he rounded the keeper at the end of a counter-attack only for the shot to be scuffed and Troy Brown to smuggle away a clearance.
Robinson then had a shot blocked that deflected past home keeper Jamie Young but to safety beyond the back post and was closing in on a header from Hackett’s cross when Ben Herd got across him to clear.
A third goal would have made the game’s final stages substantially more comfortable for the travelling supporters, but Aldershot failed to mount a concerted sequence of attacks and the victory was secured.
Aldershot: Young, Herd, Bradley, Brown, Morris, Mekki, A Morris, Rose, Hector, Vincenti, Lopez, Reid
Subs: Ainsworth (for Mekki 62), McNamee (for Rose 75), Risser (for Reid 84)
Not used: Rankine, Cadogan, G Morris, Cooksley
Cobblers: Nicholls, Tozer, Langmead, Carlisle, Widdowson, Hackett, Harding, Guttridge, Hornby, Robinson, Platt
Not used: Snedker, Wilson, Turnbull, Moyo, Demontagnac, Artell, Akinfenwa
Away fans: 142
Referee: Darren Deadman