Cobblers opened their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday evening.
Scott Kashket's long-range screamer just 11 minutes in was all that separated the sides on a night when a much-changed Cobblers struggled for cohesion and fluency in succumbing to a deserved defeat.
While it is only the Checkatrade Trophy and therefore rather meaningless in the context of the season, the result means Town's record this season now stands at eight games played and just one victory.
The other match in Southern Group F ended in a 3-0 victory for Oxford United over Fulham Under-21s.
Manager Dean Austin promised changes and he certainly didn't disappoint, naming an entirely different team to the one that started Saturday's league draw with Tranmere Rovers.
Among those to come in were fit-again Shaun McWilliams, who captained the side, and fellow midfielder John-Joe O'Toole, plus young centre-back Jay Williams, with another two academy players - Sean Whaler and U18 striker Jack Daldy - on the bench.
Goalkeeper Lewis Ward was also handed a rare chance between the sticks and only five minutes had elapsed when he blocked from Fred Onyedinma, who pounced on a loose ball and out-sprinted the home defence.
Ward was rendered powerless by the power and precision of Kashket just five minutes later, though, as the striker's 25-yard thunderbolt whistled past him and crashed into the top corner.
That gave Wycombe the lead and they were good value for it based on their first-half supremacy as Alex Samuel cleared the crossbar and an unmarked Paris Cowan-Hall side-footed straight at Ward.
The Cobblers, meanwhile, were disjointed in a laboured and sluggish first-half showing which, while understandable given the makeshift nature of their team, left them with plenty of work to do in the second 45 minutes.
Words must have been said at the break because Town came out with renewed vigour and urgency once play restarted as the visitors were at last given more of a game.
But still it was Wycombe creating the better chances as Cowan-Hall's deflected shot dropped a whisker over the crossbar before Kashket drove into the box and dragged just wide.
Signs of attacking life for Town were few and far between as long-range attempts remained their only real threat, the best of those coming from Billy Waters who cracked a fizzing 30-yard effort narrowly off target.
Visiting goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay was a spectator until the final five minutes when Cobblers finally offered a serious threat to his goal, with the best chance falling to an unmarked Dean Bowditch who beat the goalkeeper but not the defender on the line, and that was to be that.
Cobblers: Ward, Odoffin, Barnett, J Williams, Turnbull, Powell, O'Toole, McWilliams (c) (Whaler 82), Bowditch, Waters, A Williams
Subs not used: Coddington, Buchanan, Taylor, Foley, Bridge, Daldy
Wycombe: Ma-Kalambay, Thompson, Harriman, Stewart (Jombati 45), Fox, Saunders (c), Cowan-Hall (Williams 74), Freeman, Samuel, Onyedinma (Bean 59), Kashket
Subs not used: Yates, Morris, Mackail-Smith, Gape
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Wycombe fans: 156