Clive Platt scored his first goal of the season as the Cobblers came from behind to take a point from a rot-stopping draw against Scunthorpe United.
Platt scored with 13 minutes to go to cancel out Niall Canavan’s headed goal and ensure the game ended 1-1 at Sixfields.
Scunthorpe made the early running, twice worrying Matt Duke with shots from distance – the first from the left foot of Etienne Esajas and the second from the right of Eddie Nolan – within the first seven minutes of the game.
Niall Canavan should have given them the lead when he beat the offside trap at a free-kick but failed to make any connection on the ball in, to the relief of the watching defenders.
But Town weathered that earlier storm and grew into the match as it progressed, with Clive Platt beating defenders in the air and closing players down with effective regularity.
Visiting keeper Sam Slocombe made a terrible error in the closing stages of the first half as his lazy pass to the right-back was cut off by O’Donovan to advance into the box and get a shot away.
The effort rebounded off the keeper and landing at the feet of Platt who, under pressure from a defender, got a scuffed shot on target that Andy Dawson, sweeping up from left-back, smuggled off the line.
Scunthorpe really should have made a goalscoring start to the second half, Sam Winnall fluffing his lines after Sean McAllister had made an unchallenged run from midfield down the right wing and sent in a deflected cross.
Jacob Blyth, introduced early after the break with O’Donovan moving to left wing, climbed well but diverted his header from Chris Hackett’s cross narrowly wide of the target.
Then Gary Deegan flashed an effort wide after sidestepping a challenge on the edge of the box having been threaded into position by Platt.
But moments later, Scunthorpe took the lead. Town brought all 11 players back for a corner but it made no difference as Canavan rose highest to head it beyond Duke.
The home side reacted reasonably well to the goal, O’Donovan drawing a good save from Slocombe after a run down the inside-left channel, Hackett heading the follow-up straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
With 13 minutes to play, Northampton switched to a three-man defence with Ben Tozer playing just in front of them and although the two events are probably not connected, within moments the scores were level.
An innocuous ball downfield from Lee Collins should have been dealt with by the centre-backs but Platt had other ideas, using his physical presence to ease between them and slip a left-footed shot under Slocombe.
With five minutes to go, Hackett almost won it with a corner that bent beyond everyone and struck the back post before rebounding to safety.
Cobblers: Duke; Amankwaah, Heath, Collins, Widdowson; Hackett, Deegan, Carter, Emerton; Platt, O’Donovan
Subs: Blyth (for Emerton 54), Tozer (for Amankwaah 77)
Not used: McNamara, Hooper, Toney, Harriott
Scunthorpe: Slocombe; Ribiero, Canavan, Mirfin, Dawson; Sparrow, McAllister, Nolan, Esajas; Iwelumo, Winnall
Subs: Hawkridge (for Ribiero 18), Spencer (for Esajas 71), Burton (for Winnall 87)
Not used: Welsh, Severin, Waterfall, Howe
Away fans: 406