Aidy Boothroyd's Northampton held Rochdale to a goalless openiongdraw at Spotland.
The hosts, relegated after finishing bottom of League One last season, have rebuilt over the summer and fielded six players making their league debuts.
But there was to be no winning start for John Coleman's new look side as they came up against a stubborn Cobblers outfit.
The visitors worked home goalkeeper Josh Lillis with a succession of set pieces in the opening 20 minutes, but Rochdale started to take charge once they had weathered the Cobblers' physical opening.
Ashley Grimes' angled drive shaved the post, John Johnson blocked a goalbound effort from George Donnelly and Phil Edwards' volley through a crowded penalty area zipped the wrong side of the upright.
Rochdale continued to look the more likely winners as the second half unfolded, with skipper Peter Cavanagh testing Lee Nicholls when he met Jason Kennedy's corner with a diving header.
The visitors had a few sighters of their own - Lillis dived bravely at the feet of substitute Henoc Mukendi, while Alex Nicholls should have done better with a backl-post header when picked out at the back post by Clive Platt.