Burton boss Gary Rowett refused to blame goalkeeper Dean Lyness after his side's miserable away form continued at Sixfields, where Adebayo Akinfenwa's solitary goal won it for Northampton.
Lyness was made to pay for a moment of indecision as Akinfenwa headed home the second-half winner - his 15th goal of the campaign and one which took the Cobblers level on points with Burton and above Albion in the table on goal difference.
Rowett said: "I wouldn't blame Dean, he's been great for us this season. He decided to come for the cross but then got caught in two minds. I was more disappointed with the way the goal went in.
"I'm not disappointed with the performance just that fact that we didn't get a result. We got into some decent areas in the second half but the ball just wouldn't fall for us in the box.
"Like Northampton, we're struggling away from home. I know that's three defeats in a row but we're not playing that badly. We're just a bit unfortunate, whereas at home we're probably getting that bit of luck which you need."
Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd was delighted to see his side move into the play-off places after last week's setback at Chesterfield.
He said: "We knew we had to improve after last week's display and we also knew that with hardly anyone else playing that we could give ourselves a nice psychological boost.
"We did that and we've still got a game in hand on some teams, so we're in a good position.
"Burton and ourselves are very evenly-matched. We have almost identical home records and almost identical away records and they were going to take some breaking down but I thought we got what we deserved and were worth our win.
"They had a game plan and are a good team. We knew we were going to have to keep some good players quiet and I thought we did that. We were mentally alert and we had to grind out the win, which we did."