Kevin Ellison’s stoppage-time equaliser rescued a point for Morecambe in an incident-packed afternoon at the Globe Arena.
That barely tells the story of a frantic day which saw the Shrimps trail 2-0 at half-time, the visitors hit the woodwork three times, Morecambe denied by two fine saves, an assistant referee go off injured and an equaliser a third of the way through 10 added minutes.
Jim Bentley had made four changes to the side beaten at Oldham Athletic last week with Luke Conlan, Alex Kenyon, Shaun Miller and A-Jay Leitch-Smith back in the starting XI.
Leitch-Smith could have justified his recall inside four minutes when the Shrimps broke at speed and he was played through one-on-one, only to be denied by Cobblers’ keeper David Cornell.
Morecambe had started promisingly but fell behind on 20 minutes when they were the architects of their own downfall.
Rather than play a simple pass, Andrew Tuttle chose to attempt a crossfield ball which was easily cut out, allowing the visitors to break forward and win a corner that was headed home by Jordan Turnbull.
The same player doubled Northampton’s lead seven minutes before half-time when, with Morecambe backing off, he fired a deflected shot past Barry Roche from 20 yards.
It was almost 3-0 moments before half-time but Andy Williams headed Nicky Adams’ cross against the top of the bar.
The woodwork again came to Morecambe’s rescue on the hour with Adams’ curler hitting the underside of the bar before play came to an unscheduled halt midway through the half.
Assistant referee Daniel Woodward limped off, replaced after a lengthy delay by fourth official Paul Newhouse, but it was Morecambe who responded better after play resumed.
They pulled a goal back on 72 minutes when Adam Buxton, an early second-half replacement for the injured Conlan, fired home from 20 yards.
Concerted pressure followed but Cornell came to Northampton’s rescue with a fine point-blank save from Leitch-Smith.
He was powerless three minutes into added time, though, when George Tanner’s cross eventually fell to Ellison, who made no mistake from close range.
However, it was the visitors who went closest to snatching three points when, seconds later, Sam Hoskins hit the bar and Reece Hall-Johnson somehow missed the target from inside the six-yard box.
Morecambe: Roche, Tanner, Lavelle, Old, Conlan (Buxton 53), O’Sullivan (Ellison 87), Kenyon (Wildig 70), Tutte, Alessandra, Miller, Leitch-Smith. Subs not used: Halstead, Brewitt, Bakare, Cranston.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Harriman (Smith 46), Goode, Wharton, Martin, Turnbull, Lines, McWilliams (Warburton 79), Hoskins, Adams, Williams (Hall-Johnson 64). Subs not used: Fisher, Pollock, Roberts, Oliver.
Referee: Martin Coy.