Jon Guthrie’s goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to earn Northampton Town a 1-0 win over Newport County AFC.
The defender got on the end of a loose ball in the penalty area and slammed beyond Joe Day to chalk up his third goal of the campaign.
County were unable to cause any real trouble for Northampton goalkeeper Liam Roberts, with Cameron Norman’s header with 12 minutes left of normal time the closest they came to drawing level.
But the Exiles, who had earned two solid points against Leyton Orient and Harrogate Town, were condemned to their third league defeat of the campaign.
Michael Flynn made four changes from the 2-2 draw with Harrogate Town on Friday night as County reverted to a back four, while Day chalked up his 250th appearance for the Exiles.
Aneurin Livermore and Jake Cain were handed their first league starts for the Exiles in place of Ed Upson and Matty Dolan. Lewis Collins and Timmy Abraham were also brought in to replace Ollie Cooper and Alex Fisher respectively.
It took County less than three minutes to open the scoring in North Yorkshire four days earlier, but it was a quiet opening to proceedings as both sides struggled to get going under the Rodney Parade lights.
Robbie Willmott looked lively and helped the home side a string of early corners, but they were fortunate to not be caught out down the opposite end. County looked to create an opening with a set-piece off the training ground but Livermore’s pass failed to pick out Haynes, who was forced to bring down Ali Koiki to prevent a quick Cobblers breakaway.
Danny Rose then managed to get on the end of a loose ball in the penalty and fired an effort towards goal but Priestley Farquharson threw his body in the way to deflect it to safety.
It took 44 minutes for the first shot on target of the evening to arrive and it resulted in the opening goal. Livermore was shown a yellow card for a rash challenge on Jack Sowerby which allowed the Cobblers to ask a question of the home defence. Mitch Pinnock’s delivery caused problems in the penalty area before the ball fell kindly to Guthrie, who rifled beyond Day into the top corner to put the visitors ahead.
County came close to finding the equaliser on the hour mark when Ryan Haynes got down the left and teed up Willmott on the edge of the area, but his shot was deflected and looped just over Roberts’ crossbar.
Willmott enjoyed another opportunity to test Roberts three minutes later as he found a pocket of space on the edge of the area, only to see his shot sail wide of the post.
County then had Day to thank for preventing the Cobblers from doubling their advantage when he got down quickly o palm Nicke Kabamba’s downward header away to safety - an incident which led to another blow for the Exiles as Bennett went down and was taken off on a stretcher.
Finn Azaz was sent on in place of Bennett and carved out two opportunities in the space of two minutes for the hosts. First, he got beyond Mitch Pinnock and found an unmarked Norman, who headed straight at Roberts. Abraham then appeared to get the faintest of touches on another delivery from Azaz, but the ball went past the outside of the post.
Norman’s long throw-in caused problems in the away side’s penalty area with nine minutes left and forced Roberts to punch the ball to the edge of the area, where Azaz was waiting but his shot flew over the crossbar.
The injury to Bennett ensured there were 12 minutes of additional time indicated by the fourth official, but it brought no joy for the Exiles as they fell to defeat.
Newport County AFC: Joe Day, Ryan Haynes, Mickey Demetriou (C), Priestley Farquharson, Cameron Norman, Scot Bennett (Finn Azaz 72’), Aneurin Livermore, Jake Cain (Ollie Cooper 57’), Robbie Willmott, Lewis Collins (Kevin Ellison 57’), Timmy Abraham.
Subs not used: Nick Townsend, James Clarke, Matty Dolan, Aaron Lewis.