Morecambe’s four-game unbeaten run came to an end at Northampton on Saturday as the hosts moved to the top of League 2.
The Cobblers had things almost all their own way as goals from James Collins and John-Joe O’Toole in the space of nine first-half minutes put them well on their way to a 10th win in 11 league games.
Rod McDonald’s header five minutes into the second period then made sure Chris Wilder’s side completed the double over The Shrimps with Paul Mullin’s strike ultimately a consolation goal despite some late pressure.
The visitors sat in early on, willing to hit the Cobblers on the break, with Tom Barkhuizen’s touch letting him down after being found in behind by a Laurence Wilson punt forwards inside the first 90 seconds.
The home side began to make their territorial advantage pay though with Lee Martin coming close twice in the opening 10 minutes.
The Milwall loanee first brought a low save from Kieran O’Hara on debut, the young stopper holding on at the second attempt, before shanking a shot horribly wide when free in the area from a corner.
The Cobblers continued to have the best of the chances as they looked to make their territory count, O’Hara beating away Ricky Holmes’ turn and shot just after the quarter hour.
The hosts made their pressure tell on the half hour as Morecambe were caught cold from a quick free-kick.
Joel Byrom released Collins in on goal with the Shrewsbury loanee firing low and beyond O’Hara to mark his home debut with a goal.
The Shrimps then had their best opening at the other end but Andy Fleming was denied by Adam Smith after finding room in the area.
But Chris Wilder’s side doubled their advantage seven minutes before the interval.
Holmes’ shot was going well wide but O’Toole was in the right place at the right time to deflect the ball home.
Morecambe made a promising start to the second period but were three down on 50 minutes.
Again it was all too easy for the hosts as McDonald rose almost unchallenged to head Martin’s corner down and beyond O’Hara.
Ellison then did see a header saved by Smith before Alex Kenyon drilled a shot over when in space on the edge of the area but it looked a long way back for Jim Bentley’s side.
O’Hara was called upon to deny Marc Richards after Wilson had missed a header on 67 minutes as the hosts looked to make the scoreline even more emphatic.
It was The Shrimps who got the next goal though on 71 minutes, Mullin putting the ball into the empty net after Smith had saved Ellison’s initial effort.
The visitors sensed their may still be something in the game for them, Barkhuizen seeing a shot saved by Smith with a quarter of an hour to play.
But despite a couple of promising counter attacks Bentley’s side couldn’t find the goal that would have set up a grandstand finale at Sixfields, their poor record against the Cobblers stretching to one win in 14 games.
Northampton: Smith, Moloney, Buchanan, O’Toole, Diamond, McDonald, Byrom, Holmes, Martin (Adams 83), Richards (Taylor 80), Collins (Hoskins 88). Subs not used: Clarke, Horwood, Cresswell, Lelan.
Booked: Richards, Buchanan
Morecambe: O’Hara, Beeley (capt), Dugdale, Parrish, Wilson, Fleming, Kenyon, Barkhuizen (Conlan 85), Devitt (Molyneux 64), Ellison, Miller (Mullin 64). Subs not used: Edwards, Goodall, Doyle, Kelleher.
Booked: Fleming, Wilson, Ellison, Dugdale
Referee: Gavin Ward.
Attendance: 4,652 (96 away)
Shrimps Live is the home of our Morecambe FC coverage this season with breaking news and live match updates.
Join the debate on Twitter using #shrimpslive