Shaq's goal not enough as Blues pick up point against the Cobblers.
Southend United striker Shaq Coulthirst got himself back on the goal trail, but his goal just after half time wasn't enough to secure all three points for Blues following a 1-1 draw with Northampton Town in Sky Bet League Two.
The Tottenham loanee tapped in after a shot wasn't held by goalkeeper Matt Duke, but a Lawson D'Ath header late into the game meant a share of the spoils against Chris Wilder's Cobblers.
Phil Brown made a number of changes for the first game of 2015 at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium.
Michael Timlin, Adam Thompson and Coulthirst return to the starting XI, following injuries to the likes of David Worrall, Kevan Hurst, and Cian Bolger's suspension.
Myles Weston has picked up a throat infection and misses out for a place in the squad, whilst Jerome Williams takes his place as a substitute following his suspension.
The Cobblers began the game well, and after a couple of corners, Lawson D'Ath fired inches past Dan Bentley's right-hand post from 25 yards.
It was a lively start to the game from a Cobblers side, who involved three former Blues – John-Joe O'Toole, Ricky Holmes and Ryan Cresswell – in their starting lineup.
And it was one of those – Cresswell – who saw his header cannon off the crossbar from a D'Ath free kick, after eight minutes of the game, before the danger was cleared by Ben Coker – himself a former Northampton youth player.
At the other end, the returning Timlin fired straight at Matt Duke from the edge of the box, in an end-to-end opening ten minutes.
The Cobblers were creating plenty, and on 25 minutes, Bentley had to react well to beat away a powerful drive from Holmes, after the winger cut in from the right.
Just after the half an hour mark, Blues had a great opportunity to take the lead. Coker's wicked free kick smashed against the bar. Coulthirst got on the end of the rebound, and after the ball beat Duke, it hit the inside of the post and trickled across the six-yard box before being cleared by Cobblers debutant Jason Taylor.
Moments later and Barry Corr had a chance to break the deadlock and score his second goal of the season against the Cobblers, but he headed over the top of the bar from a neat corner routine involving Coker and Jack Payne.
Heading up to half time, both sides had chances. Firstly, Ben Coker cut in on his right foot before seeing his goalbound effort blocked, whilst up the other end, O'Toole broke the offside trap before shooting tamely and it was comfortable for Bentley.
After the break, Blues got the dream start to the second period, as they took the lead through Coulthirst, who scored just one minute into the second half.
Blues' tails were up, and Timlin's dangerous ball was headed on by Thompson before being deflected out for a corner, before Coulthirst went close again, but his strike was deflected just wide of the target.
However, with 15 minutes remaining, the hosts grabbed an equaliser. After Bentley's good save to deny Holmes a debut goal, Richard fired a cross in and D'Ath was there to get ahead of his man, head down onto the turf and into the corner of the net.
Five minutes later and the impressive Coulthirst put in a dangerous ball that was nipped off the toes of Payne by Duke – the goalkeeper stopping what would have been a certain goal.
With four minutes remaining, substitute Worrall nodded just wide of the post after Payne's deep, looping cross.
Luke Prosser saw red late on after a second bookable offence - handling the ball -, as Blues ended up securing only a point on their travels, which was probably a fair outcome.
Blues: Bentley; White, Thompson, Prosser, Coker; Atkinson, Leonard, Payne, Timlin (Worrall, 77); Corr, Coulthirst (Jason Williams, 84)
Unused Substitutes: P. Smith, Deegan, Clifford, Jerome Williams, Bridge.