Cobblers return to winning ways as struggling Macclesfield are sunk at the PTS
Cobblers registered their first victory in over a month when they dealt Macclesfield Town's survival hopes a blow with a 3-1 win on Good Friday,
Dean Bowditch's cushioned volley put Town into a fortuitous lead at a sun-drenched PTS, but Macclesfield restored parity during the closing stages of a lack-lustre first-half when Harry Smith lofted home.
Cobblers were much improved after the break and Daniel Powell pounced on a defensive lapse to put them back in front before Junior Morias' late tap in wrapped up three points, keeping Town 15th in Sky Bet League Two with three games of the season remaining.
There were three changes to the team that drew with Mansfield Town, and all three saw players make long-awaited returns to the starting line-up.
George Cox replaced David Buchanan for only his fourth Cobblers appearance while Bowditch started for the first time in 2019 and Junior Morias also returned to the team, taking the place of Andy Williams up front.
Teenager Scott Pollock retained his spot in midfield but it was the lowly visitors who began on the front foot at Sixfields as former Cobblers defender Nathan Cameron, Ben Stephens and Harry Smith all went close with half chances inside the first 12 minutes.
Daniel Powell had Cobblers' first sight of goal when dribbling a shot straight at Kieran O'Hara before Town hit the front with a goal out of nothing on 25 minutes.
Jordan Turnbull was the architect as he brought the ball out of defence and, after an exchange of passes, delivered a precise cross for Bowditch to deftly volley into the bottom corner.
Macclesfield thought they were level within three minutes as an offside flag ruled out Smith's header, but he wasn't to be denied eight minutes before half-time when Stephens' simple long ball took out the entire home defence and Smith lofted a stranded Cornell.
Powell twice went close at the start of the second-half as a fine last-ditch tackle denied him a shot at goal before he did then get an effort off but it lacked the accuracy to trouble O'Hara.
The away stopper was then given more of a test, saving with his legs from Cox moments later, but there was nothing O'Hara could do when Powell, latching onto a woefully short back header, slotted a composed finish beyond him.
It was a fortunate goal but Town deserved their lead after a fast start to the second-half although Macclesfield showed few signs of going away quietly.
Substitute Reece Cole fired into the hands of Cornell while Northampton too remained a threat, Morias almost latching onto another misplaced back header before O'Hara raced out to smother.
As time ticked away, a terrific free-kick from Elliott Durrell forced a fine save from Cornell, but Macclesfield's fate was sealed in stoppage-time when Powell tackled Durrell just outside the box and teed up Morias for a simple tap-in, which was reward for a hard-working display from the Cobblers striker and confirmed victory.
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode, Pierre (c), Turnbull, Foley, Cox (A Williams 65), Hoskins (Elsnik 80), D Powell, Bowditch (J Powell 67), Pollock, Morias.
Subs not used: Coddington, Facey, Buchanan, Bridge
Macclesfield: O'Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Durrell, Welch-Hayes (Martis 77), Stephens (Cole 59), Whitaker, Cameron, Jules, Ntambwe, Smith (Wilson 86)
Subs not used: Grimes, Marsh, Evans, Idem
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Macclesfield fans: 283