Some familiar faces were back at Brunton Park on Tuesday night as former-boss Keith Curle brought his Northampton side to Carlisle.
Manager Steven Pressley was without Jack Iredale, as he served a one-match suspension having picked up his fifth yellow card at Plymouth on Saturday, and Nathan Thomas was handed a recall with Olufela Olomola dropped to the bench.
United had to defend a short corner with just 60 seconds on the clock and they reacted well as a delivery came deep. The ball ricocheted off legs as Mellish looked to clear it and the Blues eventually went on a break as they cleared their lines. Scougall was in an advanced position and he earned his side a corner as he tried to slide Thomas through.
An excellent move saw Elliott and Bridge exchange passes as they worked their way down the left flank, with Thomas also involved. The right wing back overlapped but he came under pressure and his delivery sailed over the bar at the Waterworks End.
A cross from Thomas smashed into the side netting as Carlisle stayed forward, and a great run from Elliott saw him skip past his man before he sent a lovely ball into the area. Gethin Jones took a touch but his follow-up shot was blocked.
United had a trio of attackers on their tails as the visitors sniffed at a long ball over the top, and a clearing header from Branthwaite fell kindly for Williams to volley. He struck it cleanly but the flag was up for offside as it bounced past the upright.
The Cumbrians thought they'd opened the scoring on 13 minutes when a burst of pace from Thomas took him to the edge of the area. He clipped it with the outside of his boot but Cornell was up acrobatically to palm it away. Hope was first to the parry but he was on the stretch and he sent his close-range header wide.
The hosts had the better of the forward play and a gap opened up in front of Thomas as he ghosted into space. His 20-yarder hit a body and went behind for a corner, and the resulting delivery was a teaser as it flew into the mix. Wesbter recovered it as it skipped away, and Gethin Jones was adamant that his touch from the Thomas pass that followed had come off a Northampton man. The match officials were having none of it as a goal kick was given.
Northampton were awarded a free kick 25-yards from the target just before the half hour but former-Blue Nicky Adams got his bearings wrong and Collin was able to watch it bounce away.
A chipped pass from Waters had Williams interested as he threw himself at it, with the Cobblers trying to stamp some authority, but it was always too high and it fell harmlessy behind.
Carlisle were quickly back on the front-foot and Gethin Jones forced Goode to chest it behind when he sent the ball high to the back stick. Teenager Jarrad Branthwaite steamed in to get his head onto the set piece that followed but the slightest of connections wasn't enough to direct it at the nets.
The Cumbrians pressed, but they couldn't find a way through the resolute away defence as efforts from Mike Jones and Nathan Thomas were blocked before they could cause any trouble.
More excellent work from Thomas saw him twist and turn his way through midfield as he shrugged off the close attentions of Pollock. His swerving thunderbolt was goalbound until Cornell got across to fingertip it past the post.
United created another excellent moment on the break as they once again passed their way out of their own box. Bridge and Scougall opened things up, and Gethin Jones showed real pace to overlap and get onto the through ball. He had Hope as support but the cross had too much on it and the final action of the half fizzled out to nothing.
It was the hosts who fashioned the first chance of the second period when Gethin Jones worked a path down the left wing. His low delivery was cleared only as far as Scougall and he went for a first time shot as he came under pressure. A deflection set it up for Thomas and his rasper wasn't too far away as it whipped over the bar.
Northampton found themselves in front with their first shot on target of the night when the Blues twice failed to clear their lines. The ball eventually settled in front of Pollock, after a shot from Hoskins had been well covered, and he left Collin with no chance as he rattled a fierce effort off the underside of the bar.
Carlisle were almost through on goal in response when they carved a clean path, and Scougall found Hope inside the box as he pulled wide. The ball wouldn't settle and that gave Turnbull the time he needed to step across and get in the way.
A run from Mellish brought a chipped cross which fell onto the roof of net, as he tried to angle it towards Loft, and a measured clip from Thomas was plucked out of the sky by Cornell as the United man tried to dink it into the top corner.
Keeper Adam Collin had to save from Smith as he unleashed a low drive at the bottom corner at the other end, and Webster had to concentrate as substitute Vadaine Oliver wrapped his boot around a difficult volley. It was hooked clear, but a cross from the right found Goode unmarked as he jumped to meet it at close range. The downward header was parried by Collin and the blue shirts quickly closed ranks.
Winger Harry Mckirdy raised spirits when he curled a shot just wide after he set off on a run across the face of the 18-yard box, and the home side had to take care at the other end when Smith found himself with just one man to beat. His toe poke was deflected wide, and the back line stood strong to deal with the brace of corners that followed.
Adam Collin pulled off a stunning save to deny Oliver late in the day - the striker dug the ball out of his feet on the penalty spot and was ready to celebrate as he sent a crunching shot at the top corner. The stopper dived high and got a firm hand to it.
Bridge and McKirdy put low balls into the box as the Blues pushed for an equaliser, but it was the Cobblers who celebrated as they broke with plenty of men forward. The bounce was kind for Hoskins and he made no mistake as he rifled it into the roof of the net.
Northampton Town - Pollock (51), Hoskins (90)
Northampton Town - Waters (58), S McWilliams (76)
Carlisle United - Collin (gk) (c), Branthwaite, Webster, Mellish, Elliott, Bridge, M Jones (McKirdy 70), Scougall, G Jones, Hope (Loft 63), Thomas (Olomola 80). Subs - Gray (gk), Knight-Percival, Sagaf, Sorensen.
Northampton Town -Cornell (gk), Goode (c), Turnbull, Hoskins, Adams, Williams (Oliver 72), Pollock, Wharton, S McWilliams, Harriman (Smith 46), Waters (Lines 63). Subs - Fisher (gk), Hall-Johnson, C McWilliams, Anderson.
Referee - Scott Oldham
Assistant Referee 1 - Geoffrey Liddle
Assistant Referee 2 - Helen Byrne
Fourth Official - Simeon Lucas
Attendance - 3,324 (176 away fans)