Southend United rescued themselves a point as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Northampton thanks to second half goals from Jason Demetriou and Anthony Wordsworth.
The Cobblers came to Roots Hall off the back of successive wins following the appointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and looked set to make that three wins on the spin before the break.
Leon Barnett’s effort midway through the first half appeared to be deflected in off of Nile Ranger before Matt Crooks stroked the ball beyond Mark Oxley from outside the area to make it two.
Southend had been far from their best in the opening 45 minutes but came out like a different side, and within five minutes of the second half starting they were level.
Blues got themselves back into the game when Jason Demetriou was teed up Stephen McLaughlin, with his strike hitting the back of a Northampton defender and hitting the back of the net.
Less than three minutes later and Southend hit parity as Anthony Wordsworth picked off a poor clearance to slot the ball beyond Matt Ingram to level the scores.
Both sides had half chances the snatch all three points in the final minutes of the games but neither could break through for a third time with both teams settling for a point.
Despite the spirited comeback from Blues to rescue a point, it was still a ninth game without a win for Phil Brown’s side but it did end their run of two straight defeats.
Having been unfortunate to come away from Shrewsbury with nothing in midweek, Phil Brown made three changes to his side to face Northampton, including the return of Anthony Wordsworth.
Simon Cox and Nile Ranger came in to lead the line but it was up the other end that the Blues number 50 would feature prominently in Northampton’s opening goal of the afternoon.
After a poor opening 20 minutes in which neither side created much at all in front of goal, the Cobblers broke the deadlock after Yaser Kasim’s low corner found its way to Leon Barnett.
The defender’s first-time effort on the half-volley angled towards the near post and, despite the presence of Ranger on the line, the ball squirmed into the net to give the visitors the lead.
Ranger knew he should have done better with his attempted clearance and came close to redeeming himself when he got in goal-side only for his strike to lack the power required to beat Matt Ingram.
Ingram was needed again minutes later and survived a sterner test of his goalkeeping ability as he done brilliantly well to tip over Cox’s superbly-struck volley from outside the area.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s appointment at Northampton had coincided with the Cobblers winning their last two games and before the break, they were well on their way to making it three in a row.
Daniel Powell got himself into a dangerous position but after Anton Ferdinand came across, Powell spun and laid the ball off for Matt Crooks to side-foot the ball past Mark Oxley from 20-yards out.
It was a smart finish from the Northampton man and as the half-time whistle blew Southend were greeted with boos from a selection of the home fans as Blues faced a ninth game without a win.
After such a poor first half for the Blues they needed quick goals to get themselves back into the game and not only did they get one but they scored two in three minutes to bring themselves level.
The first came after Crooks caught Cox on the edge of the area. Stephen McLaughlin laid the free-kick off for Jason Demetriou whose first-time shot took a huge deflection to deceive Ingram.
Demetriou’s goal came less than three minutes into the half and just over two minutes later Blues had wiped out Northampton’s two-goal lead as Wordsworth scored on his return.
Wordsworth ghosted in after picking off a poor headed clearance by Northampton, taking the ball into the area with his first touch and calmly slotting the ball past Ingram with his second.
Southend had come out like a different team after the interval and feel they should have taken the lead when Demetriou’s cross found McLaughlin at the far post only for his header to go wide.
After such a frantic start to the second period the game settled right down with both sides now in search of a vital third goal which would likely secure them all three points.
Theo Robinson was brought on as Blues went with three up top in search of a winner and only some last-ditch tackling inside the Northampton area was all that stopped Southend converting after a goal-mouth scramble.
Stephen Hendrie – another second-half sub – had the ball fall to him at the far post but the full-back could only screw his shot wide of Ingram’s near post and Southend continued to press for a winner.
Neither side though was able to break through for a third time in the game as both sides were made to settle for a draw and a point apiece.
In the final few moments, Northampton’s goalscorer Crooks failed to retreat for a Blues free kick. Having been booked in the first half for his foul on Cox that lead to Southend’s first goal he was given his marching orders six minutes into injury time.
Blues XI: Oxley, Wordsworth (McGlashan 61’), Ferdinand (C), Timlin, Cox, McLaughlin (Robinson 76’), Yearwood (Hendrie 66’), Leonard, Demetriou, Kyprianou, Ranger. Subs Not Used: Smith, Fortune, Klass, Bwomono
Northampton XI: Ingram, Moloney, Buchanan (C), Kasim, Barnett, Taylor, Revell, Powell, Long (Waters 59’), Crooks, Grimes. Subs Not Used: Cornell, Richards, Bowditch, Pierre, Poole, Hanley
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley
Assistants: Kevin Howick & Paul Kelly
Fourth Official: Paul Yates
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 48’, Anthony Wordsworth 50’
Northampton Town: Leon Barnett 19’, Matt Crooks 43’
Southend United: Michael Timlin 61’, Dru Yearwood 62’, Anton Ferdinand 90+6’
Northampton Town: Brendan Moloney 39’, Matt Crooks 47’, Leon Barnett 67’
Southend United: None
Northampton Town: Matt Crooks 90+6’