York City collected a 2-0 win at Sixfields for the second season running as two second-half goals put the Cobblers four points adrift of safety.
Last year’s win for the Minstermen in Northampton ended a 10-game winning streak and extinguished any chance the side had of securing automatic promotion.
This loss may be even more costly, with very real concerns now emerging about the club’s chances of retaining their Football League status.
Caretaker manager Andy King, who had been given this game in which to enhance his claim for the job, will have been bitterly disappointed with the response from the players.
In truth, they did not look like scoring throughout the whole game, and two goals in three second-half minutes, from Ryan Bowman and Wes Fletcher, proved their undoing.
Ishmel Demontagnac, recalled to the side on the left of midfield, had a lively game - before cramp got the better of him - and produced the first chance of the contest with Michael Ingham blocking his low, right-footed shot after he had drifted inside his marker.
Josh Carson forced Matt Duke into a good save at the other end with a powerfully-struck free-kick from 25 yards that bounced in the six-yard box.
Demontagnac had a good hour and produced a superb piece of play early in the second half, sliding in to recover possession before beating two men and playing a pass in behind for Hallam Hope.
From a tight angle, the Everton loanee found only the side netting.
Hope then provided a good cross from the right wing that Matty Blair headed tamely backwards when he had the goal at his mercy and with Ingham in no man’s land.
The same description could be applied to Duke’s positioning on Bowman’s goal, although the lack of any pressure on the player sending the ball in was the major contributory factor.
From a narrow angle, Carson firmly struck a ball into the box that Bowman flicked on to loop the ball over Duke and into the net.
Things went from bad to worse almost immediately afterwards when Kevin Amankwaah unnecesarily went to ground on Michael Coulson just inside the penalty area.
Wes Fletcher stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards, driving the ball high into the net to Duke’s left.
Town continued to work hard, but Ingham had no real saves to make and the game ended in a familiar, disappointing fashion.
Cobblers: Duke, Amankwaah, Collins, Tozer, McGinty, Blair, Carter, Deegan, Demontagnac, Hope, German
Subs: Emerton (for Demontagnac 64), Moyo (for Hope 71), Harriott (for Amankwaah 76)
Not used: Snedker, Hooper, Reid, Toney
York: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McGurk, Davies, Carson, Penn, Montrose, Coulson, Bowman, Fletcher
Subs: Jarvis (for Fletcher 88), Platt (for Jarvis 90)
Not used: Fyfield, McDonald, Allen, Dickinson, Reed
Away fans: 464