A stunning hat-trick from Luke Beckett and a superb free-kick from Ben Burgess helped Stockport secure three vital points with a 4-0 win at home to Northampton.
Beckett, who has been inspirational for the Hatters this season, popped up in the 22nd, 46th and 60th minute to fire his team five places up the table.
Burgess, who has been absent through injury for most of the early part of the season, then hit a wonderful free-kick with 16 minutes remaining to put the icing on the cake for the home side.
Northampton pushed for a consolation, and Jamie Forrester had their best chance of the evening but goalkeeper Lee Jones, fighting for his place at Edgeley Park with the arrival of new Australian shot-stopper Brad Jones, denied him with a wonderful finger-tip save.
County had other good goalscoring opportunities through Beckett, Ali Gibb and Burgess late on, but three points would have just been enough for County player-manager Carlton Palmer.