Scott Machin was delighted with the way his Kettering Town players battled back to extend their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central table.
The Poppies fell 2-0 down during the first half to Potters Bar Town at Latimer Park.
But Elliot Sandy’s sixth goal in as many games just before half-time provided the platform for a stunning fightback as Andy Gooding’s penalty and substitute Jon Bukasa’s dramatic late winner sealed the points.
With Hanwell Town being held to a 0-0 draw at Egham Town, it meant Kettering moved seven points clear at the summit with a game in hand on the second-placed side, which comes at fellow high-fliers Bedworth United on Tuesday night.
And while joint-manager Machin was disappointed in the manner of which they fell behind, he was pleased with an excellent fightback.
“I am delighted with the way we came back into the game but I wasn’t overly happy with the quality of our defending and football at times,” he said.
“We didn’t adjust to their system. They were sitting deep and trying to hit us on the break and, unfortunately, we fell for it.
“We left ourselves open to the counter-attack, which is how they caught us for both goals.
“So we had a chat at half-time about being a bit more disciplined and, to be fair, in the second half there was only really one team in it.
“The goal just before half-time stopped me from making a couple of changes.
“I was already thinking about changing things around before that goal came. It gave us a bit of breathing space.
“And just as I was about to make changes in the second half we got the penalty and the equalising goal.
“We have to give credit to the players because they have had to fight and scrap and they came through a test.
“We were dominant and we got our reward in the end. I am sure it was an entertaining game to watch for the fans but I don’t think it did a lot for my health!”
Machin and fellow joint-boss Thomas Baillie resisted the temptation to throw new signing David Kolodynski straight into the starting line-up as he made his bow as a second-half substitute.
Machin revealed the frontman is set to feature more prominently on Tuesday with Dubi Ogbonna carrying an injury but he also paid tribute to fellow substitutes Bukasa and James Jepson who helped swing the game back into Kettering’s favour.
“It was nice to get David on the pitch and he was a bit unfortunate with one curling shot,” Machin said.
“He is going to be key for us on Tuesday night because Dubi is struggling with an injury at the moment.
“Jon is a fantastic guy. His attitude is first class, he doesn’t play as much as he wants to this season but he always gives his all in training and when he gets an opportunity.
“He came on and worked hard and he got his reward. I think the goalkeeper carried it into the net more than anything else so we got a bit of luck.
“But I am really pleased for Jon because it’s not easy when you aren’t playing all the time.
“And the same goes for James Jepson as well. He has not played a great deal over the past few weeks but he came on and really changed things with the way he came on and played some sensible football. I am pleased for both of those guys.”
As for Tuesday, Machin knows the Poppies will be in for a tough encounter on a 3G surface at Bedworth, who sit in third place following a 2-1 success at Uxbridge on Saturday.
He added: “We have some good technical players and I am hoping the surface will suit us better than playing on a boggy pitch.
“Certainly in the early stages of the season when the pitches were a bit firmer, we were playing some good stuff so I am hoping that will be the case on Tuesday.
“We keep having these top-of-the-table clashes and things seem to be swapping around a lot below us at the moment.
“But we just have to keep trying to win games. Bedworth are a good side, I know their manager well and he will have them well organised and disciplined. It is going to be a very difficult game.”