Kettering Town slipped to another defeat in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division as they went down 2-0 at Banbury United.
There was no place in the squad for Ben Ford, who was ill, while the Poppies’ hopes of bringing in Nottingham Forest striker Morgan Ferrier on loan appear to have been dashed.
Boss Alan Doyle shuffled his pack with Will Muzvimbiri preferred in attack to Jason Turner, who was on the substitutes’ bench.
But Kettering found themselves 1-0 down after 14 minutes as Banbury struck with the first attempt on target in the game. The visiting defence stood off Kynan Isaac and he shot past Yannick Nlate.
The Poppies responded with Muzvimbiri seeing a shot saved by Warren Carter in the home goal but iut was the hosts who extended their advantage just before the half-hour.
Nabil Shariff played one game for Kettering earlier this season but piled the misery on them as he produced a smart turn and finish to give Banbury a two-goal advantage.
Muzvimbiri shot over but Banbury continued to cause problems in the remainder of the half with Michael Hopkins’ cross evading everyone in the area.
Doyle brought on Troy Johnston in place of Robbie Maddox at half-time but the hosts almost made it 3-0 when Chris Lait’s 20-yard drive beat Nlate but crashed off the crossbar.
Hopkins saw a shot saved at full stretch by Nlate and the goalkeeper also kept out another effort from Adeoye Zusuff soon after as Banbury looked to finish the game off.
But they didn’t need another goal as they comfortably saw the game out to complete a comfortable victory.
The defeat means Doyle’s side remain 15 points adrift of safety with 18 games to play. Their next action is against Leamington at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium on Sunday (3pm).
Poppies line-up: Nlate, Gyasi, Fox, Logan, Eze, Crowie, Maddox, Hicks, Noubissie, Muzvimbiri, Griffiths. Subs: Akinshade, King, Turner, Johnston.