The Cobblers redefined winning ugly as they beat Plymouth Argyle at Sixfields to record their ninth win in 10 home matches.
The fortress was as strong as ever but played host to very little excitement as an own goal from visiting keeper Jake Cole was the difference between the sides.
Northampton’s inability to effectively clear their lines was a problem throughout the game and provided Plymouth with several attacking positions but they failed to profit from any of them.
What punished the home side repeatedly was their lack of accuracy with balls out from the back, which invariably either went into touch or fell short of the targets and were picked off by Plymouth’s central defenders.
At the other end, Ben Harding failed to connect with his shot properly after joining in an attack created by a Clive Platt flick and a slick pass from Roy O’Donovan before blazing a volley over on the turn in the game’s next phase.
Jason Banton had the game’s first good chance with a superb slalom of a run inside two challenges followed by a fierce shot that Kelvin Langmead did very well to block.
Chris Hackett picked out O’Donovan, who had intelligently got across his marker, with a good cross early in the first half but the Irishman glanced his header wide of the target when he should have done better.
It was a match, though, of limited chances. Adebayo Akinfenwa had already ruffled a couple of feathers - notably Guy Branston’s - after his introduction and forced a good saved from Cole after beating his marker to a bouncing ball in behind.
From the corner, the controversy took place. Harding put a corner under Cole’s bar that he claimed only to spill it over his line under pressure from Clive Platt.
With the ball rolling into the net, the defenders looked the referee Phillips to award the foul but he instead signalled for a goal and the Plymouth bench signalled their absolute disgust.
Town pushed forward in pursuit of the second goal that would have settled the game and Jake Robinson almost had it when he was put clean through after a Branston slip only to slide his shot over the target with Cole in no man’s land.
But in a game with very little goalmouth incident, one was enough.
Cobblers: Nicholls, Johnson, Langmead, Carlisle, Collins, Hackett, Harding, Tozer, Hornby, O’Donovan, Platt
Subs: Akinfenwa (for Johnson 61), Robinson (for Platt 86)
Not used: Guttridge, Demontagnac, Snedker, Artell, Oyeleke
Plymouth: Cole; Blanchard, Charles, Branston, Bhasera; Cowan-Hall, Cox, Wotton, Hourihane, Banton; Reid
Subs: Ugwu (for Cowan-Hall 74), Gurrieri (for Wotton 77), Murray (for Reid 81)
Not used: Young, Chenoweth, Richards, Gurrieri
Away fans: 615
Referee: David Phillips