Claudiu Hoban’s early goal proved to be enough to earn Corby Town a two-legged Red Insure Cup final showdown with Poole Town as they edged out North Leigh at Steel Park.
The winger struck in bizarre fashion after just three minutes and, with chances few and far between after it for either side, it was enough to settle a low-key affair.
It all means the current top two in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division will now meet over two legs in the showpiece, with the first being at Steel Park next Wednesday night.
Tommy Wright made five changes to the starting line-up with Ben Milnes ruled out through injury and Shane Byrne being in his native Ireland.
Connor Kennedy, Wilson Carvalho and Spencer Weir-Daley were all rested on the bench as Brad-Lee Gascoigne, who rejoined the club on Tuesday, Kalern Thomas, Curtis Hartley, Hoban and Elliott Chamberlain all came into the side.
Wright opted to start with a back three while Hoban was given a free role behind the front two and it was he who opened the scoring after just three minutes.
Greg Mills had already shot straight at visiting goalkeeper Matt Bulman before Hoban broke the deadlock in bizarre circumstances.
He got down the left and Bulman clearly thought his cross was sailing over the bar but, as he left it well alone, the ball dropped over his head and nestled in the corner.
That goal settled the game down and Corby dominated possession without creating too much until Hoban forced Bulman into an excellent save after Thomas had headed Mills’ centre back across goal.
John Else forced Paul Walker, who had been a spectator for the opening 25 minutes, into his first routine save.
But it was Corby who continued to force the issue as they chased the second goal.
Bulman saved from Chamberlain at his near post but the goalkeeper was beaten by Mills’ headed, which looped just wide of the target.
There was little to report early in the second half as Wright changed the system back to the more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.
Hoban sent a shot wide after a driving run but chances were few and far between until substitute Carvalho so nearly got on the end of a Mills cross just past the hour.
Weir-Daley was thrown on as the Steelmen continued to search for the second goal to kill the tie off.
But, despite having plenty of possession, the North Leigh defence held firm.
And they almost nicked an equaliser themselves when, after a bit of a scramble in the Corby area, Walker had to get down well to save Morgan Williams’ volley.
But there was to be no late drama as the Steelmen comfortably saw things out.
The first leg of the final will be at Steel Park next Wednesday night as Wright and his players get that opportunity to try to upset their title rivals.
Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, N’Goma, Gascoigne (sub Carvalho, 61 mins), Anton; Thomas, Taylor, Hartley, Morley; Chamberlain (sub Weir-Daley, 69 mins), Hoban (sub Buckby, 85 mins); Mills. Subs not used: Kennedy, Donkin.
North Leigh: Bulman; Eadle (sub Moore, 85 mins), Westlake, Hole, Hopkins; Woodley, Turk, Linford-Pill (sub Seacole, 90 mins), Else; Williams; Caton
Referee: Ben Cooke.
Goal: Hoban (3 mins, 1-0).
Bookings: Eadle (foul), Williams (dissent).