Adebayo Akinfenwa grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser as Northampton and 10-man Bury cancelled out each other's slim play-off hopes with a 1-1 draw at Sixfields.
Both sides needed a victory to have any hope of securing a top-seven finish and for a long time it looked as though Ryan Lowe's first-half goal might have kept Bury in with a chance.
Even though the Shakers had James Poole sent off in the second half they looked set to hold on for the three points until Akinfenwa's late strike.
Earlier, Billy McKay should have put Northampton in front just before the break, but he shot into the side netting after rounding goalkeeper Cameron Belford.
Lowe broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when he pounced on a slip by Craig Hinton to beat Jason Steele.
McKay, Ryan Gilligan and Andy Holt were all denied by Belford in the second half before Poole got a straight red card for a rash challenge on John Johnson after 66 minutes.
Akinfenwa then equalised when his deflected shot beat Belford from 15 yards.
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