Jordan Chapell’s six-minute brace secured all three points for Torquay as the Cobblers tasted defeat for a third time in four Sky Bet League Two games this season.
Town went ahead through Jacob Blyth’s second goal in as many Sixfields starts but the visitors turned the tables in the second half, dominating the contest and scoring twice through winger Chapell to secure a 2-1 victory.
The result means Northampton have taken just one win from their first five fixtures, with all the others ending as defeats and leaving a sum total of just three points on the board for their efforts.
An excellent piece of stand-up defending by Joe Widdowson denied Karl Hawley a sight of goal after the striker had been expertly played in by Kevin Nicholson inside the game’s first 10 minutes.
Moments later a long ball skimmed off Aaron Downes’ head to play Danny Emerton clean through but there was no conviction in his sidefooted finish and visiting goalkeeper Martin Rice blocked it comfortably.
Roy O’Donovan met a first-time Kevin Amankwaah cross with a glancing header shortly afterwards as the Cobblers looked to seize the early initiative.
Emerton, unfazed by his miss, played well down the right wing, consistently finding space for crosses that were generally met by Jacob Blyth.
One evaded the Leicester loanee and landed at the feet of Ian Morris, who stepped onto his right foot and skimmed a shot narrowly wide of Rice’s near post.
Emerton had already given plenty of illustrations of his pace when he created the goal, sprinting to reach a ball and crossing it from right on the touchline for Blyth to head home at the back post.
Torquay attacked only sporadically and when they did, they found Matt Duke ready to continue his fine early-season form.
He was well beaten by a Callum Ball shot eight minutes into the second half – after a rare Emerton error – but so too was the post, and the ball drifted wide.
Courtney Cameron, a youth-team player at Northampton before a move to Aston Villa, then found space after good work by Hawley but his shot was straight at Duke, who held it comfortably.
He then made a fine save right underneath his crossbar to tip away a steepling Krystian Pearce header as Torquay mounted a recovery.
They possibly should have been give the chance to restore parity just before the hour mark when, during an almighty scramble in the box, the ball appeared to strike Amankwaah’s hand.
Widdowson also saw the ball strike his hand in the area later in the game, to leave the travelling supporters similarly incensed.
But their frustration turned to celebration 18 minutes from time when Torquay found an equaliser on the counter-attack.
Derby County loanee Callum Ball led a break that saw the ball worked into Hawley to play a pinpoint pass that put Chapell straight through – with just Duke to beat, he made no mistake.
In truth, the goal had been coming. Torquay were the game’s dominant force in the 20 minutes that preceded it and continued to play on the front foot.
So it was no surprise, really, when they scored a second. A crossfield pass found Chapell, who beat Widdowson on the inside with ease before spearing a shot past Duke with the outside of his boot.
It was a good piece of skill and enough to settle the contest.
Northampton: Duke; Amankwaah, Collins, Tozer, Widdowson; Emerton, Carter, Deegan, Morris; O’Donovan, Blyth
Subs: Platt (for Morris 76), Demontagnac (for Blyth 88)
Not used: Snedker, Dias, Hooper, Toney
Torquay United: Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson; Chapell, Harding, Manseel, Cameron; Hawley, Ball
Subs: Bodin (for Cameron 61), Benyon (for Hawley 82), Thompson (for Chapell 90+2)
Not used: Lathrope, Thompson, Cruise, Sullivan, Thompson
Away fans: 252