The defeat at Oxford is the latest document in an increasingly-bulging folder of evidence that this is a Cobblers side that desperately needs to sign someone that can score some goals.
It was also an indicator, though, that the growing injury list is enormously debilitating and because of that, any semblance of a plan B is diluted to the point of being almost entirely ineffective.
None of these three problems look like being cured in the immediate future and the best straw-shaped piece of positivity that can be clutched at is that, at the very least, Chris Hackett should be available for next weekend’s game.
Every time the Cobblers fail to score in a game - and it has happened five times in the 11 league games so far this campaign - the argument about a lack of goals is rightly made.
Aidy Boothroyd has an unwavering belief that Roy O’Donovan will score 20 goals in this campaign and while that may yet turn out to be true, the striker is unlikely to get them playing up front on his own and with almost no service at close quarters.
O’Donovan’s work rate, fitness and stamina are exceptional but as a lone striker much of his work is done outside the box; I’ve seen every game this season bar the loss at Bristol Rovers and genuinely struggle to recall occasions when he has been given anything like good ammunition in his preferred position, between the posts and near to goal.
Ivan Toney is a talent but raw (so too is JJ Hooper) and while they may go on to be stars in years to come, at the moment they are young and inexperienced and bring the natural consistency that comes with junior players.
At the Kassam Stadium, Northampton finished with Hooper and Toney up front and Danny Emerton and Stuart Dallas on the wings.
Between them, that quartet has started just 16 senior matches - it was wildly optimistic to expect them to be able to salvage anything in a city where only one Northampton team has ever won a match.
Boothroyd was right to start the team in the same system that worked so well at Wimbledon; Ben Tozer was a natural replacement for Joe Widdowson (it would have been bizarre to move Lee Collins out of the midfield lynchpin role in which he was so successful at Kingsmeadow) and Dallas earned the right to deputise for Hackett.
But the two were badly missed, as are players like Kelvin Langmead and Clive Platt.
The absence of such players to call on mean that when things don’t go well in the first-choice tactical set-up, as they did not on Saturday, the back-up plan has to be implemented with experimental players who don’t necessarily have the maturity or consistency of performance level to make such changes effective.
All of which is always going to impact on a team’s ability to score goals.
Although, having said all that, this was a marginal defeat against an Oxford team who went third in the division as a result of it but who looked anything but frightening world-beaters.
It probably should have been a 0-0 draw given the paucity of attacking intent on display (from both sides) but Oxford scored through the game’s best piece of passing football and then put the seal on it with a massively dubious penalty.
As an aside, the match officials were not to blame for the outcome but they were the poorest seen in a Northampton match this season; the assistant on the Town left in the second half was regularly well behind play and referee Darren Deadman gave a string of ‘soft’ fouls in the Cobblers’ favour early in the second half, almost to compensate for the awarding of the spot-kick.
The perfect storm then? Not really. Just another away game in which Northampton came home with nothing, failed to score and did little to trouble Ryan Clarke in the Oxford goal.
Whether this is a resumption of normal service remains to be seen. But it feel worryingly like precisely that on Saturday.
Left exposed for the first goal and the penalty was to the other side; nothing to do other than that ...6
Did not hit the heights of his performance at Wimbledon (although he didn’t need to) and will rue his first-half miss ...5
Competed strongly for the ball and got in foul trouble once or twice - costly slip for the first goal summed up a frustrating afternoon ...5
Had very little to do thanks mainly to Oxford’s system and their lack of a consistent attacking threat ...6
Looked a little uncomfortable at times and was very unfortunate to concede the penalty in what was a clear act of cheating by Constable ...5
Deserved the chance to start and had some very bright moments in the first quarter of the game but faded as it went on ...5
Northampton’s best performer, certainly in the first half, in which he got on the ball regularly and in good areas and looked to spark attacks ...6
Was withdrawn at half-time for being ‘way off the pace’ according to his manager and was caught out on the first goal ...5
Difficult to highlight any grave errors and although he almost scored with a fine volley, he should have done better with the many corners he had ...6
Decent enough when in possession of the ball but spent long periods marginalised and was withdrawn for the quicker Emerton ...5
His industry and work rate cannot be faulted but the striker cuts a frustrated figure at the moment and gave away some sloppy fouls ...5
IVAN TONEY (for Collins, 46mins)
Played with an instant brightness and injected something different into the forward line. Unlucky not to score with his first chance ...6
JJ HOOPER (for O’Donovan, 68mins)
Was never really a constant force in the contest and was forced to go looking for the ball ...5
DANNY EMERTON (for Morris, 71mins)
Didn’t really pick up the pace of the game and was well marshalled by the set Newey ...5