Zander Diamond opened his Cobblers account with a vital headed goal in an absorbing draw at Scunthorpe United.
The centre-back cancelled out an effort from fellow defender Niall Canavan to give Town a share of the spoils with a 1-1 stalemate at Glanford Park.
It was no less than Northampton deserved, especially as they had to play the final 40 minutes of the game with 10 men after Ricky Ravenhill’s sending-off.
They also had to weather some late pressure but a combination of the home side’s reluctance to go forward with any haste and Paddy Madden’s inability to stay onside undermined the Iron.
Exeter City’s late equaliser against Dagenham & Redbridge means the Cobblers are six points adrift of safety but this result was one few expected them to get, and a welcome bonus.
Town reshuffled their midfield with a selection that favoured the defensive qualities of Gary Deegan and Ian Morris to the more attack-minded Chris Hackett and Brennan Dickenson in the wide areas.
But they did not set out to defend and for the first 25 minutes were the better side in terms of territory and possession.
Neither side created much in the way of goalmouth activity and it took until the 51st minute for the game’s first shot on target to be registered.
When it came it was only by the lightest of touches, Niall Canavan making contact with an inswinging Andy Dawson corner that probably would have gone in without the touch.
Diamond got a much more visibly contact on his header, a flicked effort from a deliciously-whipped Darren Carter free-kick after a foul on the right-wing touchline.
By that point Madden saw a headed effort well saved by the legs of Matt Duke, although he was offside, and Dawson’s deflected cross was palmed over by the keeper as the home side mounted some late pressure.
Duke had to be alert to hold a crisp Madden header as the game entered its final minute but no further pressure was forthcoming.
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Adelakun, Syers, McAllister, Williams, Madden, Winnall
Subs: Hayes (for Dawson 75), Hawkridge (for Adelakun 84), Esajas (for Williams 87)
Not used: Ribeiro, Sparrow, Severn, Waterfall
Cobblers: Duke, McSweeney, Diamond, Doumbe, Robertson, Connell, Carter, Deegan, Ravenhill, Morris, Marquis
Subs: Sinclair (for Marquis 60), Hackett (for Connell 67)
Not used: Snedker, Roberts, Toney, Tozer, Dickenson
Away fans: 401