Northampton Town were defeated 3-1 by local rivals Peterborough United.

The Cobblers were able to enter half-time level after Sam Hoskins’ penalty cancelled out Sammie Szmodics’ opener. But a second goal for Szmodics 3 minutes after half-time opened the door for the home side, and a Jonson Clarke-Harris penalty confirmed the result.

The Friday night defeat leaves Northampton in the relegation zone, and leaves them with a nervous wait to see the results for fellow relegation strugglers AFC Wimbledon, Wigan Athletic, Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town in their games tomorrow.

In a tight first half, Peterborough keeper Josef Bursik was first to be forced into a stop after he denied Bryn Morris.

The away side had held their own but would fall behind just after the half hour mark. Peterborough’s opener came from Szmodics, as the home attacker reached Dan Butler’s cross and beat Jonathan Mitchell.

Northampton responded, with Ryan Watson volleying wide before the team were awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the first half.

First time starter Alex Jones was fouled by Mark Beevers, and Hoskins was able to beat Bursik.

But having done well to recover in the final minutes of the first half, the Cobblers had a miserable opening to the second period.

Jack Taylor’s lofted pass picked out Szmodics, who was able to beat Mitchell to grab his second goal.

Watson had a shot blocked but more chances began to fall for Peterborough, with Szmodics and Clarke-Harris coming close.

The home side would soon grab a third from the penalty spot. A foul by Hoskins on Nathan Thompson saw the hosts given a penalty, and Clarke-Harris beat Michell from 12 yards.

Peterborough would blow a couple of chances in quick succession to rub salt in Northampton’s wounds, although the visitors would come close when Hoskins had a shot saved late on.

But there was no way back for Northampton to avoid defeat against the second place side in League One.

It means Northampton remain one point from safety with four games to go, but in need of other results to go their way to remain that way when they play Ipswich Town on Tuesday night.