Tom Nichols’ first-half goal proved enough as Crawley recorded a narrow 1-0 League Two victory to end Northampton’s five-game winning run at home.
Nichols scored the only goal of the game late in the first half as Northampton missed a series of late chances to avoid back-to-back defeats.
James Tilley’s sweet long-range strike whistled narrowly over in the first five minutes but the opening half was desperately short on entertaining and goalmouth action.
Sam Hoskins and Jack Sowerby never threatened the target with half chances for the home side before Crawley took a surprise lead when Nichols latched onto Sam Matthews’ through pass and clinically fired the ball home.
Northampton improved after half-time and dominated possession but their end product was poor and they struggled to create clear-cut opportunities.
Debutant Chanka Zimba came off the bench and hit the crossbar with his very first touch while Aaron McGowan cleared the angle of post and bar from a corner.
Zimba was also superbly denied by Glenn Morris in the closing stages as Crawley just about held on for maximum points.