Thomas Baillie felt Kettering Town produced their “best performance for two months” as they maintained a five-point lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central with a 2-0 success over Chalfont St Peter.
The Poppies bounced back from their midweek defeat at second-placed Bedworth United with an impressive display at Latimer Park as they ended Chalfont’s six-game winning streak as well as gaining revenge for an earlier FA Cup defeat to the same opponents.
Brett Solkhon opened the scoring in the first half before Dubi Ogbonna’s second-half penalty completed the victory and ensured the Poppies remain clear at the summit.
Joint-boss Baillie was delighted with the display and also sent a message in the direction of a minority of critics, who had suggested that Kettering have been struggling despite sitting at the top of the table.
“We played very, very well,” he said.
“We made more changes and I think the result proved we made the right decisions.
“Obviously both Andy Hall and James Clifton were unavailable and it’s actually a good sign for the other players that they have done a really good job.
“It was always going to be a tough game but we got at them from the first minute.
“The way we have been starting games has been a bit of an issue for us over the last few weeks but we were at them from the first whistle on a tough pitch and they couldn’t handle it. I would say it was probably our best performance for two months.
“We had anyone and everyone telling us it was going to be a really testing November because we were playing a lot of the top teams.
“We have won five of the six games and we have played seven of the top 10 teams and beaten six of them. That’s not bad for a team that has been ‘struggling’.”
Baillie and fellow joint-manager Scott Machin named an attacking team for the clash and he admitted the performance of midfield duo James Jepson and Tommy Hull was key to giving the front players the chance to show what they could do.
Baillie added: “We had the front four of Claudiu (Hoban), Elliot (Sandy), David (Kolodynski) and Dubi and they were all very good for us.
“But the only way they get the chance to go and express themselves is if the middle two do their jobs.
“I thought James and Tommy were excellent in doing that. They did the dirty work that some don’t want to do.
“They won the battles for us and it enabled that front four to perform to a very high level.”