The brakes on their slide down the table was not applied completely for they did well to recover and earn a point in a match they dominated without being able to get the goals.
In the first half they could have scored four but got nothing and, early in the second half, it looked like another disaster when Pedj Bojic netted after being set up by Andy Kirk, who looked five yards offside.
Rochdale continued to battle on for a goal and finally got the ball over the line in the 70th minute when a Rickie Lambert's free-kick out on the left found the head of Sean Dyche and he powered it into the net.
After that it was a question of when the winner would come to Rochdale, but they just could not find a vital second goal and, in the end, a draw was probably a fair result.
Northampton improved after the interval but they still looked second best, despite giving Rochdale a fright or two.