Cobblers' woeful start to the season hit a desperate new low on Saturday when they were sent crashing to a limp 4-1 home defeat by rivals Peterborough United on a sorry afternoon at Sixfields.
Having already lost four from four coming into this one, Justin Edinburgh came into this game desperately in need of some kind of result and improved performance but he got the exact opposite of that, especially in a hugely dispiriting first-half that saw them head into the break 2-0 behind.
Slack defending and a lack of creativity in attack were the feature of a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, with Gwion Edwards and Junior Morias on target for Posh.
The second-half offered little hope of a recovery despite Edinburgh's switch from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2, and late goals from Jack Marriott and then Marcus Maddison from the penalty spot completed another forgettable afternoon for the Cobblers, irrespective of Alex Revell's consolation.
While Peterborough go top, Town have now dropped to the foot of Sky Bet League One with no points from four games and judging by this performance it's difficult to see how and when their fortunes will improve.
The team news prior to kick-off prompted many talking points with Edinburgh sticking to his guns by again playing three at the back, while Marc Richards and Alex Revell resumed their partnership in attack.
On top of that, Luke Coddington and Matt Grimes were handed full debuts and Shaun McWilliams was given his first start of the season, with Billy Waters and Chris Long benched and Yaser Kasim not even in the matchday squad.
Those were all bold decisions taken by Edinburgh given his side's poor start to the season, and the Cobblers found themselves under a little bit of early pressure in Saturday's contest.
Edwards headed straight at Coddington and Marcus Maddison blazed over but those were only half chances at best in what was a scrappy start to the game.
The first clear-cut opportunity arrived on 21 minutes and fell to United's Leonardo Da Silva Lopes who, from the centre of the goal and only six yards out, volleyed Edwards' whipped cross over the bar.
Northampton responded with their first real period of pressure but Posh goalkeeper Jonathan Bond's workload in the first-half consisted solely of catching simple crosses as Town displayed a real lack of cutting edge in the final third.
And their problems deepened on 32 minutes when United struck.
Having stolen possession inside his own half, Steven Taylor laid off to Edwards who, completely unchallenged, motored beyond halfway and to the edge of the penalty area where he cut inside and smashing beyond the despairing dive of Coddington.
The Cobblers were well in the game prior to that but falling behind visibly knocked the stuffing out of them and soon their misery got worse.
After Morias blazed one wide and Aaron Pierre produced a timely block, Peterborough doubled their lead on the cusp of half-time as more static defending this time allowed Morias to pick up a throw-in, turn and find the bottom corner, to the dismay of much of Sixfields.
Grimes had Town's first shot on target in first-half stoppage-time but his weak effort, which was met by ironic cheers by some home fans, was easy for Bond.
Then came the half-time whistle, greeted by loud boos from disgruntled home fans who were desperate to see some kind of improvement after the break, particularly in the attacking department.
In an attempt to change things, Edinburgh replaced Ash Taylor with Daniel Powell and went to a direct 4-4-2 for the second-half.
That coincided with slight if not significant improvement although Bond still remained untroubled in the away goal and Peterborough continued to carry the greater threat.
Coddington saved well to keep out the prolific Marriott before Morias clattered a shot into the side-netting and Michael Doughty side-footed over.
Northampton's complete inability to create a single clear-cut chances continued throughout the second-half despite both Long and Waters being introduced.
And their woeful afternoon was made worse by Mariott, who collected a long ball over the top, took his time and calmly placed past Coddington.
Revell did at least provide a consolation when heading home Grimes' corner, but that came far too late to influence either the result or the mood of many inside Sixfields, whose terrible day was completed by Maddison's late fourth as he converted from 12 yards in injury-time after Pierre had tripped substitute Danny Lloyd.
Cobblers: Coddington, Barnett, A Taylor (Powell 45), Pierre, Moloney, Crooks (Waters 70), McWilliams, Grimes, Buchanan, Revell, Richards (c) (Long 63)
Subs not used: Cornell, Poole, Bowditch, Iaciofano
Peterborough United: Bond, Tafazolli, Baldwin (c), Edwards, Maddison, Morias (Kanu 76), Silva Lopes, Doughty (Anderson 85), Taylor, Grant, Marriott (Lloyd 85)
Subs not used: Shephard, Hughes, Forrester, O'Malley
Referee: Roger East
Peterborough fans: 1,407