Cameron White's unbeaten half-century helped Northamptonshire end the opening day of their Division Two clash against promotion rivals Lancashire on 275-7.
The hosts had at one stage reached 90 without loss at the County Ground before suffering an afternoon collapse, losing five wickets for 69 runs.
They then slipped to 211-7 after tea before White (61 not out) and David Murphy, who finished unbeaten on 28, survived the final session unscathed.
Glen Chapple finished with 3-60 for Lancashire, who had beaten the current league leaders in the reverse fixture in June to close the gap at the top of the table.
The Red Rose county had dismissed their opponents for 68 on the opening day at Old Trafford but found Northamptonshire a much tougher proposition on home turf.
Kyle Coetzer (38) and James Middlebrook, who made 57, did a sterling job at the top of the order before both fell straight after lunch, the latter run out after a mix-up with stand-in skipper David Sales.
Chapple dismissed his opposite number Sales for 18 and then sent back Ben Duckett (29) and Andrew Hall, who failed to trouble the scorers, in the same over.
Left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan had Matthew Spriegel (20) sharply taken at short leg by Andrea Agathangelou and then David Willey departed soon after for six.
Lancashire should have seen off Murphy on 19 but Karl Brown put down a catch at first slip off Chapple's bowling. The let-off allowed the wicketkeeper to put on an unbeaten stand of 64 with White.