AFC Rushden & Diamonds moved to the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central as they hit back with a 2-1 success at Hanwell Town.
Just three days on from the 4-1 home loss to Royston Town, Andy Peaks’ side took over at the summit on goal difference as their victory was coupled by morning leaders Chalfont St Peter’s 3-1 defeat to Uxbridge.
But there was late drama at Hanwell as the hosts were awarded a late penalty, only to send it wide and confirm Diamonds’ place at the top of the table.
Tommy Berwick had an effort cleared off the line inside the first 10 seconds before Hanwell battled back with Michael Buckley hitting the bar with a free-kick.
Matt Finlay was forced to save at the feet of a home striker but it was Diamonds who took the lead 11 minutes before the break when Berwick smashed home from 20 yards.
The frontman clipped the outside of the post in the second half but the visitors did double their lead when a corner was flicked on by Tom Lorraine and Delroy Gordon forced the ball home from six yards.
The hosts responded almost immediately when Tyler Christian-Law brilliantly volleyed home.
But Diamonds held on and then survived that late scare from the penalty spot to move to the top ahead of their trip to Uxbridge at the weekend.
Kettering Town’s four-match unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division was ended as they went down 1-0 to the 10 men of Cirencester Town.
The match was delayed by 15 minutes after the Poppies team arrived late but the visitors had an early shout for a penalty waved away after Gary Mulligan went down in the area.
Craig Hill tipped a Zak Kotwica shot over the bar while home goalkeeper Glyn Garner was forced into a good save from his own team-mate when Ellis Dunton got his head on the end of a Wilson Carvalho cross.
Elliot Sandy had a shot deflected just over before the break but Kettering gained the numerical advantage seven minutes into the second half when Dunton saw red for a professional foul on Carvalho.
However, that only served to inspire the hosts and they grabbed what proved to be the winner on 66 minutes when Ross Langworthy headed home Kotwica’s cross.
The Poppies struggled to create anything and Hill was forced to save from Ollie Knight before Kettering finally mustered up their first attempt on target when substitute Liam Canavan headed straight at Garner.
Kettering couldn’t find an equaliser as Cirencester were able to celebrate the end of a seven-match run without a league victory, stretching back to October 3.
Don’t miss more Diamonds and Poppies news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph