Kettering Town kept their bid for a play-off place in the Calor League Division One Central firmly on course with a seventh win in a row as they claimed a 3-0 success at Aylesbury United.
After a poor first half, Jonathon Thorpe marked his return to the Poppies squad by giving them the lead soon after the break before top scorer Dubi Ogbonna and substitute Louis Hamilton completed the victory.
Boss Dean Thomas was forced into one change with Josh Moreman being ruled out due to a knee injury. That meant an immediate return for Thorpe, who had missed the midweek wins over AFC Hayes and Egham Town due to being unavailable.
The Poppies boss also recalled goalkeeper Alastair Worby to the starting line-up after he missed the 3-0 success at Egham due to a one-match ban.
Ogbonna forced home goalkeeper Jack Sillitoe into the first save of the game on a sandy pitch but the Poppies also had a scare when Ben Baines shot wide for the hosts.
It proved to be a poor first period but it was Kettering who went closest to breaking the deadlock with Thorpe flashing a shot across the face of goal while Elliot Sandy lofted the ball over the crossbar after being played in by Andy Gooding.
But Kettering didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring after the break as they took the lead on 47 minutes. A ball was played to the left of the penalty area and Thorpe coolly rolled it into the bottom corner.
Lee Grace wasted a glorious chance to level for the hosts while Sandy’s cross was headed over by Ogbonna from six yards.
But the Poppies’ top scorer didn’t have to wait much longer for his goal as he gave his team some breathing space just before the hour when he seized upon a weak header back from Jack Wood and lobbed the ball over Sillitoe.
And a comfortable victory was completed late on when substitute Hamilton ghosted in behind the defence, went round Sillitoe and slotted home.
The Poppies are closing in on one of those play-off places and moved up to fourth with this victory.
But their next task will be a tough one as they take on county rivals and current leaders Daventry Town at Latimer Park on Monday afternoon.
Aylesbury United: Sillitoe, Reynolds (sub Murphy, 67 mins), Williams, Wood, Morgan, Hatch, Baines (sub Edgeworth, 67 mins), G Williams, Acheampong, Field, Grace (sub Jones, 67 mins). Subs not used: Joyce, Grasso.
Poppies: Worby, Clifton, Kinniburgh, Gooding (sub Hull, 77 mins), Eze, Bukasa, Thorpe (sub Hamilton, 86 mins), Jepson, Ogbonna (sub Osei-Siribour, 77 mins), Sandy, Logan. Subs not used: Fuller, Muzvimbiri.
Goals: Thorpe (47 mins, 0-1), Ogbonna (57 mins, 0-2), Hamilton (90 mins, 0-3).