Northampton plunged deeper into relegation trouble at the bottom of League One after losing 1-0 at home to Crewe.
Owen Dale’s late goal settled a poor game as the Cobblers dropped to 22nd position, while Crewe moved up to 14th.
Charlie Kirk squandered the game’s first big chance when denied by Jonathan Mitchell after 13 minutes before Mark Marshall saw a shot blocked at the other end.
Those were the only chances of note in a scrappy and low-quality first half as both attacks struggled to make any impact on the contest.
Mickel Miller saw a strong penalty appeal turned down late in the half before Sam Hoskins blazed over the bar shortly after the restart.
Goalmouth action remained at a premium in the second half but the big moment arrived with 16 minutes to go.
After Ryan Edmondson fluffed a gilt-edged chance for Northampton, Crewe went straight up the other end and scored the winner as Dale tucked away Luke Murphy’s through pass.