Jake Robinson and Clive Platt were both on target as the Cobblers provided an early Christmas gift for their supporters with a 2-0 win over Aldershot at Sixfields.
Robinson coolly finished in the early stages of the first half and Platt doubled the margin of victory with a deft lob in injury time.
Between the scores, Aldershot threatened strongly on the counter-attack and at times the home team’s goal led a charmed life, with Chris Hackett making an excellent saving tackle and Lee Nicholls enjoying a strong performance in goal.
On a wet but playable pitch that passed a lunchtime inspection, Northampton were instantly into their stride, creating a headed chance for Chris Hackett from Ben Tozer’s long throw that keeper Jamie Young did well to keep out.
Ishmel Demontagnac then saw a shot deflected wide after another throw had caused problems for the visiting defence and from the resulting corner - delivered with perfection by Hackett - Kelvin Langmead had a shot blocked by Doug Berqvist.
Aldershot soon asserted themselves and contrived some possession to take the edge off a potent-looking attack but the Cobblers soon returned to attacking areas, Clarke Carlisle making too much contact on a superb Hackett free-kick to turn it well over the bar.
Clive Platt got a good contact to send Demontagnac’s cross into the net with five minutes of the first half remaining but the attempt was ruled out for offside.
Aldershot started the second period brightly but there good spell ended with Robinson putting the Cobblers in front.
On as a half-time substitute for Demontagnac, Robinson collected Ben Tozer’s ball in behind and although his second touch looked to have taken him too wide, the forward still managed to slot the ball under the advancing Young.
It was Robinson’s third goal of the season and the one he is likely to feel proudest of - the lob against Milton Keynes in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was an eye-catcher and the one off the bench at Accrington represented a huge weight off the player’s shoulders.
This one, though, a calm one-on-one executed in the absence of the club’s leading goalscorer should lead to further first-team opportunities in Robinson’s preferred centre-forward position.
He was a willing runner throughout this latest chance, spinning in behind again soon after his goal to strike a shot that deflected up into the arm of a covering defender. The referee, who was well placed, waved away strong appeals for a penalty.
Aldershot found the initiative for attacks, though, and should have scored when Danny Hylton had space for a left-footed shot from 10 yards that he got all wrong and sidefooted into the side netting.
And Lee Nicholls had to be at his best to pull off a fine save and deny Dani Lopez as the visitors almost perfectly executed a two-on-one break.
Young did equally well at the other end to palm a Hackett free-kick as Town looked to reassert themselves in the game but they required an exceptional piece of defensive play to stay in front with eight minutes to play.
Aldershot again completed a counter-attack that left them with men over and Hylton was clean through but Hackett covered 60 yards to double-quick time to make the tackle and block the shot.
That was a crucial intervention to maintain the lead and in injury time it was doubled, when Nicholls cleared long, the defenders allowed the ball to bounce, Platt used his strength to brush them aside and his skill to lob Young in what was a deserved victory.
Northampton: Nicholls, Tozer, Langmead, Carlisle, Charles, Huws, Harding, Hornby, Hackett, Platt, Demontagnac
Subs: Robinson (for Demontagnac 46)
Not used: Snedker, Mukendi, Robinson, Moult, East, Dias, Moyo
Aldershot: Young, Berqvist, Hector, Bradley, A Morris, Cadogan, Sinclair, Rose, Hylton, Lopez, Reid
Subs: Mekki (for Reid 79), Roberts (for Cadogan 90)
Not used: Madjo, G Morris, Webbe, Rudolph, Brice
Away fans: 218