Despite a storming second-half fightback which saw them hit the post and have a shot cleared off the line, The Shrimps couldn’t prevent Northampton extending their run to five wins on the trot.
In a cracking game full of excitement and incident, Jim Bentley’s men battled back from setbacks early in either half in a brave attempt to keep their unbeaten run in 2015.
They even survived a second-half penalty that would have sealed the game for the hosts after 68 minutes and had The Cobblers on the back foot for much of the last 20 minutes.
But Morecambe fell just short and were left to rue their luck in front of goal – and a few lapses of concentration in defence – to come home empty-handed from Sixfields.
It was the most disastrous start possible for the visitors with a goal that came far too easily for Northampton after less than half a minute of the kick-off.
Right-back Brendan Moloney was allowed far too much space as he cantered from his own half past three Morecambe players before working the ball into a crowded area from where Joel Byrom pounced to steer a low shot home.
And it could have been worse for The Shrimps as Ryan Edwards slipped to let in Ricky Holmes on the left but the Cobblers’ winger fired wide when in on goal.
Northampton were dominating and creating half chances, aided by some sloppy passing by Morecambe but they couldn’t add to their lead before the break.
At the other end, Laurence Wilson had curled a right foot shot wide and Andy Fleming had one deflected over after a great cross by Jamie Devitt was knocked back into his path by Shaun Beeley.
Then, just before half-time, Jack Redshaw jinked his way into the box and tested Matt Duke with a right-footer that the keeper palmed back out into the path of Devitt, whose header looped back over Duke for a 41st-minute equaliser.
Lifted by the goal against the general run of play, Morecambe came out looking to press the home side back – but they were caught cold again 10 minutes into the second half when a sliced shot by home left-back Evan Horwood wasn’t cleared and top-scorer Marc Richards guided a shot in at the far post to restore Northampton’s lead.
The Shrimps came storming back after that setback, though and Kevin Ellison, who had replaced the unwell Andy Parrish at half-time, was involved in two great chances.
First his rocket shot on 64 minutes was blocked by the keeper who recovered brilliantly to also deny Redshaw’s follow-up header on the line. Then a 20-yard strike was well-saved low down by Duke.
Northampton were given the chance to kill the game on 68 minutes when Holmes got the better of Wilson on the right before speeding into the box where he was upended by Mark Hughes’ outstretched leg.
Richards slammed his spot-kick towards the bottom corner but Andreas Arestidou sprung to his left to tip it against the post and away to safety.
Morecambe took the rest of the game to their hosts and Alan Goodall, with a 30-yard stunner that struck the base of the post and Paul Mullin, who chipped just over from the edge of the box with the keeper stranded, came close to grabbing a point.
But it was all in vain as Morecambe’s run of five successive draws came to an end and they were left to reflect on those moments of indecision early in each half.
Morecambe: Arestidou, Edwards, Hughes (capt), Parrish (Ellison 45), Beeley, Fleming (Sampson 88), Goodall, Wilson, Devitt, Redshaw, Amond (Mullin 68). Subs not used: Jones, Kenyon, Williams, McGowan.
Northampton Town: Duke, Moloney, Diamond (Tozer 47), Collins, Horwood, D’Ath, Taylor, Byrom, Holmes (Newey 89), O’Toole (Hackett 81), Richards. Subs not used: Carter, Bodin, Snedker, Toney.
Attendance: 4,307 (126 away)
Referee: Robert Lewis