New Cobblers boss Keith Curle was largely satisfied by what he saw from his side during his first game in charge, describing the outcome of Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Bury as a 'creditable' point.
Curle, only appointed on Monday, wasted precious little time in making his mark as he switched formation to 3-5-2 and dropped five players with David Buchanan and Kevin van Veen among those to miss out after Saturday's heavy defeat at Mansfield.
Town made a nervous start on Tuesday, perhaps understandably given recent events, and were fortunate not to fall behind when Bury hit the crossbar, but the hosts grew into the game and ended the first-half on top as Sam Hoskins and Andy Williams missed good chances.
The second-half was less of a spectacle as Bury shaded the play without creating many clear chances before the game ended in stalemate.
Curle, who has yet to take a training session, now has plenty of hard work ahead with his new side 21st in Sky Bet League Two, out of the relegation zone on goal difference only.
"I thought it was a creditable point against a good team," he said after Tuesday's draw. "There was an air of nervousness about the team at the start which is understandable and acceptable because I've not had one minute on the training ground.
"We had a couple of meetings with the players and I told them the requirements and my demands which I expect but I left them all today.
"We didn't train because I knew there'd be an element of mental fatigue and then I gave them a new system and changed the personnel.
"I thought they were open-minded and took the instructions on board. They showed good willingness, good understanding and a desire to try and implement what we needed to go against a very good side.
"They've just been turned over 4-0 and that led to the previous manager losing his job so there's an element of responsibility labelled towards the players and they understand and know that.
"Today was an opportunity to put a foundation and a pillar in place. We didn't play the prettiest football but we have to earn the right to express ourselves and today was a workmanlike performance. There were detailed roles and responsibilities within the team.
"After the first 10 minutes, we had the lion's share of the chances and their goalkeeper might have been man of the match, which is pleasing, and a clean sheet gives us a platform."