Northampton Town extended their unbeaten run to six games as a goal in each half was enough to take all three points back to Sixfields for their fourth visit in a row.
Luke Guttridge's deflected strike put the Cobblers ahead and Adebayo Akinfenwa's 76th minute header sealed the points, with the visitors unlucky not to have more after twice hitting the woodwork.
Macclesfield's first game of 2010 started slowly with defences on top and in the first 20 minutes both sides had just one effort on goal.Andy Holt's low volley was well held by Brain diving to his right after he latched on to Billy McKay's flick and for the Silkmen Lee Bell curled a free kick over the wall and inches past the post.
The opening goal came out of the blue after Northampton had shaded possession but as with the home side looked to lack a cutting edge up front.Luke Guttridge picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and his shot took a wicked deflection off Carl Tremarco who rushed across to block, sending Jon Brain the wrong way and the ball looped into the net.
For Northampton Ryan Gilligan impressed and was part of most of their attacking play. On 28 minutes his cross from the right was perfect for Guttridge who should have doubled his tally but headed well wide from six yards.
John Johnson squandered another good aerial opportunity soon after when he reached Peter Gilbert's near post cross but sent his powerful header wide of the post.
A good passing move from the Cobblers saw Akinfenwa lay the ball off to Guttridge who waited for the burly striker to continue his run before returning the pass and Jon Brain made a great save to palm his angled effort over.
The strength of Akinfenwa allowed Northampton to hold the ball up well in attacking positions and again on 38 minutes he was able to tee up Gilligan to smash a first time shot from 25 yards which looked to be arrowing into the top corner before the fingertips of Brain diverted it onto the crossbar.
Ade Akinfenwa - Tussled with the home defence throughout and headed in the second
With the home side looking to be struggling with a lack of creativity in midfield it was no suprise that the closest the Silkmen came to scoring came from a set piece.A free kick was laid off to Sean Hessey who blasted a left footed drive from 30 yards which whistled agonizingly over the bar.
Ricky Sappleton and John Rooney were introduced for the final half hour and Macc did look to have a little more to their play however still rarely looked like equalising.
Left back Peter Gilbert almost put through his own net when he tried to hook clear Rooney's pass into Colin Daniel's path and the ball looped over his own keeper and bounced just wide for a corner.
Sean Hessey - Came closest to scoring for Macc with a tremendous free kick
On 71 minutes Carl Tremarco intercepted a cross-field ball and set off on the counter attack, however with little support had to go himself and was tackled just as he looked to get past the final defender.The loose ball broke to Rooney but he delayed his effort for too long trying to find space and was well challenged.
The game was over as a contest on 76 minute when an overhit ball was collected by Guttridge on the Cobblers right who cut back onto his left foot and curled a cross perfectly onto the head of Akinfenwa to easily nod past Brain for his 10th of the campaign.
Brain had to be on his guard to deny Holt on 82 minutes when the winger cracked an ambitious half volley from a narrow angle which would have flew in at the near post if not for the keeper's fingertips.
Substitute Matthew Tipton went close in the last five minutes with a left footed effort which was always rising just a few feet over. However the visitors went even closer to scoring again when Gilligan's brilliant 20 yard dipping volley had Brain rooted to the spot but bounced back off the bar and Guttridge squandered the follow up by dragging wide.
Keith Alexander may well now be cursing the weather and the three weeks off as tonight his side looked a shadow of the one which had gone three games unbeaten and hit nine goals in that period.