Northampton maintain impressive run with hard-fought win at Crawley
Ten-man Northampton clinched their sixth win in the last seven games with first-half goals from Joel Byrom and John Joe O'Toole sinking Crawley 2-1.
The Cobblers played the final 30 minutes with a man short after Brendan Moloney received a straight red card in giving away a penalty.
Simon Walton scored from the spot but Crawley, who had won their previous four home games, could not complete a comeback despite late pressure.
Northampton, who have lost only once in the league since September 5, made the perfect start when midfielder Byrom gave them the lead after only six minutes.
Walton gave away a penalty by tripping Lawson D'Ath and, after Marc Richards' spot-kick was parried two-handed by Darryl Flahavan, Byrom headed home from the centre of the box.
Former Bristol Rovers midfielder O'Toole doubled the advantage in superb style after 20 minutes with a left-foot curler into the top corner from 25 yards.
Crawley were later fortunate to escape when top scorer Richards put the ball into the side-netting after Flahavan had parried a Nicky Adams cross.
The hosts should have pulled one back nine minutes after the break but striker Matt Harrold missed an open goal after getting clean through.
But midfielder Walton was on target from the penalty spot on the hour to make it 2-1 when defender Moloney received a straight red card for holding back substitute Shamir Fenelon.
The Cobblers came under pressure as the match wore on with Fenelon having a shot blocked before Gwion Edwards put a deflected shot wide.