It was appropriate that a player called Hope scored the opening, tone-setting goal of the Cobblers’ worrying capitulation to Bury.
Because the home team’s play was built around hopeful touches, little flicks and passes that didn’t really connect and certainly didn’t concern the away side.
And the end result was another hopeless performance that has further shredded the confidence and belief that the team’s supporters might have had about their chances of remaining in the Football League this season.
The doomsday scenario in the build-up to the game was that a former striker would return to Sixfields and score the vital goal in what was a crucial match.
Everyone thought it would be Clive Platt but instead he was restricted to a 20-minute cameo with the game won, at the start of which he was unfairly booed by the fans of the club he left in January.
Instead it was Hallam Hope, an Everton loanee who was also at Northampton until the arrival of Chris Wilder, who gave Bury their 14th-minute lead.
Hope looked stronger, quicker and more confident in this game than in his loan spell with the Cobblers and deserved his goal, a stooping header after Daniel Nardiello had circumnavigated Zander Diamond with a concerning ease.
The second goal was a touch fortunate because the deflection put the loop on the shot that took it over Matt Duke but Danny Mayor was allowed to drift inside and get his shot away far too easily.
With a two-goal advantage, Bury knew they could relax and allow the home side to have the ball and, once again, they failed to create anything of note with it.
John Marquis certainly added some bite up front but again this was another performance in which the team did not look like scoring, and so it proved.
The third goal was a comedy of errors that encapsulated not just Northampton’s afternoon but their entire season, with Evan Horwood and Duke both making huge mistakes to present Daniel Rose with the easiest goal he will score in his entire career.
And that’s the thing - it’s all so easy for teams to play against the Cobblers at the moment. As difficult as the heavy loss to Rochdale was it was at least against a very good side.
Bury are not in the same class but were made to look exceptional because they were much better in the basics, namely positional play and ball retention.
When the home side got the ball they looked rushed and played hopeful passes that rarely found their target; Bury knocked it about with comfort and all of their outfield 10 looked completely at ease on the ball.
Northampton are consistently making the run-of-the-mill league two sides look good. They are the common denominator in all of these situations.
Bury, for example, are not world beaters but their players, how they perform and the unit overall are all up to the standard of league two.
The growing evidence suggests that the Cobblers are not.
By no means the team’s worst performer and the back pass to him was awful but will be very unhappy with his part in Bury’s third goal ...5
A reasonable game but allowed Mayor to get away from him a little easily on the second goal and was out of position on the first ...5
Beaten too easily by Nardiello in the build-up to the first goal and didn’t offer much as an emergency centre-forward in the second half ...5
Bizarrely allowed the ball to bounce on at least two occasions, leading to a turnover in possession. Form has dropped in recent weeks ...5
Although the game was lost by that point, his pass back to Duke was terribly sloppy and landed the goalkeeper in a lot of trouble ...5
Was well marked by the visiting defence and needs to summon a strong performance too; would have been interesting to see how he did in a central role ...5
Ponderous in possession and not the force he has been in tackles previously so was rightly withdrawn at half-time ...4
Did his best to rally the team but was not without his faults, namely some poor decision-making and a desire to take unnecessary extra touches ...5
Instinctive backheel set up Marquis for the Cobblers’ best chance of the game but there was some sloppy passing in there as well ...5
The pick of the home players on the day because at least he tried and he definitely added an extra physical edge up front ...6 STAR MAN
The striker is either anonymous or looks uninterested. Improved late in the second half but remains in ice cold form ...4
BRENNAN DICKENSON (for Hackett 46)
Added some pace and width but his crossing range was out after getting in some good areas ...5
GARY DEEGAN (for Ravenhill 46)
Mixed things up in midfield and actually came close to scoring with a flick of the left foot from a long throw that Jensen did well to stop on the line ...5
BEN TOZER (for McSweeney 71)
Brought on to facilitate a switch to 3-4-3 but most memorable contribution was two rare foul throws ...5
Not used: Moyo, Snedker, Connell, Toney