Dean Thomas believes the race for the play-off places in the Calor League Division One Central will “go to the wire” after Kettering Town threw themselves right back into thick of things.
The Poppies produced a commanding display to beat current leaders Dunstable Town 2-0 in front of over 750 fans at Latimer Park.
Henry Eze fired Kettering in front inside five minutes before top scorer Dubi Ogbonna came off the substitutes’ bench to round off a fine day with the second.
With Barton Rovers, who currently occupy the final play-off place, slipping to a surprise 2-0 defeat at Aylesbury, it meant the Poppies moved to within three points of the top five with a game in hand.
And boss Thomas hailed his team’s fourth home win in a row as “as massive three points”.
He said: “It was a comfortable win and it is a massive three points.
“It creates that interest again. I think this race will go to the wire and we are right in it.
“Nothing really changes and we don’t need to think about anyone else.
“Points will be dropped by everyone between now and the end of the season.”
It was the manner of his team’s display that pleased Thomas the most as the Poppies dominated for long spells against a Dunstable who saw their four-point lead at the top reduced to just one.
“I thought we were deserved winners, we had more about us than they did,” he added.
“We got off to a great start with Henry’s goal and that put them on the back foot for half-an-hour.
“They had a bit of a go but I always felt we were in control of the game and they never really threatened us in attack.
“We had to keep things tight and we shut them out, gave them no chances and I don’t recall our goalkeeper having a great deal to do.
“We knew they would be dangerous if they got the ball into their frontmen so we had to stop that service. We put three midfielders in there and it denied them the space they would have wanted. They never really got to grips with the game.
“But it was all about us. We put in a great shift and produced a great performance. We kept our shape, we stayed organised and we did it for 90 minutes.
“And it was nice that Dubi got the goal at the end after a fantastic run from Josh to finish it off.”