Sky Bet League One player of the month Josh Morris had given the hosts the lead with a cultured dead ball strike just before the half-time interval. However Northampton, who played a large chunk of the second period with ten men, equalised 15 minutes from time through Jak McCourt.
Graham Alexander opted to go with the same eleven which was victorious away at Bury last weekend.
Cobblers frontman Jonathan Hooper had the first effort of the match and it was on target too, but Luke Daniels comfortably grasped the strike.
However, Daniels’ save was nothing on what visiting ‘keeper Adam Smith produced minutes later. Following an in-swinging free kick from the left boot of Morris, Smith somehow spread his body to keep the ball out.
United were in the ascendancy early on. In spite of their best efforts though, the visiting backline held strong, dealing with everything Alexander’s men threw at them.
They then nearly snatched the lead through a sweetly struck free-kick from Matt Taylor. Daniels was up to it however, as he dived to his left to parry the dipping strike away.
The balance of proceedings went one way and then the other, with David Mirfin the next to try his luck as the ball fell to him in the penalty area. Again though there was no way past Smith, who clung on well.
Rob Page’s side then spurned a great opportunity on the half an hour mark as an unmarked Alex Revell headed wide at the back post, much to the disappointment of his manager.
The half looked as though it was heading towards a pretty nondescript ending, but Morris soon saw to that, as he put Scunthorpe ahead superbly. Smith in the Northampton goal had done well to repel the midfielder from a dead ball in the early stages of the match. However, he could do nothing about the strike this time round, as the ball sailed over him and into the top left corner of the goal.
Morris couldn’t repeat his heroics a minute later when the Northampton wall held strong, and United had to settle for just a one goal lead at the interval.
Scunthorpe began the second period at a ferocious rate of knots and would have doubled their lead, if not for the outstretched leg of Smith, who foiled Tom Hopper from inside the penalty area.
They were nearly made to rue that miss seven minutes later when John-Joe O’Toole found himself in space, six yards from goal, but he could only manage to head over.
Things then got worse for Page and his players, as midfielder Taylor saw red for a dangerous challenge on Neal Bishop in the centre of the park.
The ten men rallied though and got themselves level with 15 minutes left on the clock. After Revell had initially hit the post and Murray Wallace had blocked, McCourt eventually slotted the ball home and into the back of Daniels’ net.
United instantly pressed for a second, with Morris slicing wide from just outside the area after good work from the hosts on the break.
Both sides went hell for leather in the closing stages, and Daniels did brilliantly to punch a drive from distance away from danger.
Five additional minutes brought about a renewed sense of optimism amongst the United faithful, and Alexander’s players tried their upmost to force the issue.
It wasn’t to be though as, despite numerous crosses into the box, the Cobblers defence stood firm and clung onto a valuable point.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wiseman, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson (Madden, 83), Morris, Bishop, Hopper, Toffolo, Smallwood (Mantom, 77), Holmes (Adelakun, 87).
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Goode, Margetts, Townsend.
Northampton Town: Smith, Moloney, Buchanan, Anderson (Hoskins, 57), Diamond, Revell, McCourt, O'Toole, Nyatanga, Hooper (Richards, 87), Taylor.
Substitutes not used: Cornell, Phillips, Potter, Byrom, Gorre.