HARTLEPOOL United's promising run of performances and results came to a sudden halt, as they went down 2-0 at Northampton.
The division's bottom placed side - who are still five points short of safety - got the better of Pools and fully deserved their victory.
Pools conceded two goals as many minutes either side of half-time. First a free-kick, softly awarded against Darren Holden was headed across goal by the unmarked Mathias Doumbe to bundle in.
And a minute into the second half, a Chris Hackett cross was met by Brennan Dickinson inside the six yard area to nod in. Pools had a couple of shots from distance, Luke Williams finally testing keeper Matt Duke, but it was too easy for a determined Cobblers side.
Pools right back Michael Duckworth lasted only six minutes of his return to action - he was stretched off with a serious looking leg injury.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Duke; McSweeney, Diamond, Doumbe, Widdowson (Robertson 67); Hackett, Carter, Ravenhill, Dickenson; Sinclair (Connell 67), Marquis (Deegan 86). Subs: Morris, Tozer, Snedker, German.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Duckworth (Richards 11), Collins, Burgess, Holden; Barmby (Compton 66), Walton, Walker, Williams; James, Harewood (Franks 66). Subs: Rafferty (gk), Monkhouse, Sweeney, Poole.