More points chucked away as Cobblers again concede late in frustrating draw at Morecambe
For the second week running Cobblers let slip a 2-0 lead and conceded an injury-time equaliser as they were held to a 2-2 draw by out-of-form Morecambe at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
The Shrimps, 22nd in League Two, had lost seven of their last eight games and were well on the way to another defeat at the break after Jordan Turnbull's first-half brace put Town in the driving seat.
But once again Cobblers couldn't see the job through as Adam Buxton halved the deficit and then Kevin Ellison scored in the third of 10 added minutes to salvage a draw and leave Town ruing two costly points chucked away.
Whilst their 2-0 lead at half-time gave the impression of a one-sided opening 45 minutes, in reality the Cobblers were far from their best at the Globe Arena and it caught up with them after the interval when Morecambe fought back and claimed what was, in the end, a worthy point.
For the fourth game in a row Keith Curle named the same starting line-up, although Egli Kaja and Billy Waters missed out on the trip north with knocks while Reece Hall-Johnson returned from injury to take his place on the bench.
AJ Leitch-Smith opened the scoring in this fixture last season and he should have done so again just four minutes in when Morecambe broke from a Cobblers corner and he was played through on goal, but David Cornell stood tall and made an excellent save with his legs.
There was a pleasing flow to the early exchanges as the two teams committed numbers forward and played with intent, although promising attacks often fizzled out at both ends.
Cobblers' first shot didn't come until the 20th minute but it was worth the wait as they moved in front. The goal was simple but effective with Nicky Adams' left-wing corner headed into the bottom corner by an unmarked Turnbull.
For a team low on confidence and in such poor form, Morecambe responded well to going behind and Leitch-Smith was nearly in again, however for Joe Martin to recover and make the block.
Cobblers and Turnbull maintained their perfect shooting record with a second goal on 37 minutes. This one arrived in very different fashion to the first as the defender-turned-midfielder made room 25 yards out and sneaked a shot into the bottom corner, via a deflection.
Shaun Miller tried his luck from a similar distance for the Shimps but his shot whistled just wide, and Town came within a whisker of adding a third just shy of half-time when Adams delivered a cross and Andy Williams' glancing header flicked off the crossbar.
The visitors' two-goal advantage at half-time perhaps flattered them a little and Morecambe were still very much in the contest with Andrew Tutte and Buxton sending speculative shots wide of goal.
But more space was opening up for Cobblers at the other end and Adams was so unlucky not to kill the game off when his curling effort clipped the underside of the crossbar and bounced away from goal.
Morecambe's decision to leave three men forward at all times was making for an increasingly stretched and open game, but it paid off with 18 minutes to go when substitute Buxton wrong-footed Cornell with a powerful 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.
That made for a total sea change around the Globe Arean and, with plenty of stoppage-time due to be added following an injury to the linesman, now the home side were charging forward in search of an equaliser.
And it would have come with nine minutes remaining but for a sensational stop from Cornell, who got the faintest of touches on Leitch-Smith's shot after an almighty scramble in the penalty box.
Ten minutes of added time gave home fans another lift and their inevitable equaliser arrived with three gone, a cross from the right taking two deflections and dropping at the feet of the ageless Ellison who gleefully prodded into the net.
There was still plenty of time for either side to win it and Town twice nearly did, striking the bar for a third time through Hoskins before Reece Hall-Johnson side-footed wide at the back post.
A breathless stoppage-time continued with Miller off target before a last-gasp Morecambe attack was smuggled out by Town's defence as they at least ensured they came away with a point.
Morecambe: Roche (c), Conlan (Buxton 53), Kenyon (Wildig 70), Old, Tutte, O'Sullivan (Ellison 87), Lavelle, Tanner, Leitch-Smith, Miller, Alessandra
Subs not used: Halstead, Brewitt, Wildig, Bakare, Cranston
Cobblers: Cornell, Harriman (Smith 45), Goode (c), Wharton, Martin, Turnbull, Lines, McWilliams (Warburton 79), Hoskins, Adams, Williams (Hall-Johnson 64)
Subs not used: Fisher, Pollock, Roberts, Oliver
Referee: Martin Coy
Cobblers fans: 318