Corby Town have been all-but relegated from the Vanarama National League North after they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue.
The official confirmation of the Steelmen’s relegation will follow soon but they are nine points adrift of safety with just three games remaining and an inferior goal difference, meaning preparations for a season back in the Southern League Premier Division can now begin.
It’s been a tough campaign for manager Tommy Wright and the drop comes just a year after their glorious Southern League title success.
But their latest defeat in Yorkshire spelled the end of a season-long stay in the National League North.
Wright handed starts to Liam Marshall and Danny Draper, who captained the team, and Bradford made the brighter start with Oliver Sutton saving well from Simon Ainge.
Ben Milnes went close at the other end before Ellis Myles headed an Ainge effort off the line.
Sutton made a fine save to deny Ryan Qualter while Bradford goalkeeper Ryan Jones produced good stops from both Nathan Hicks and Greg Mills as Corby forced their way into the contest.
But the hosts had the better of things after the break.
Chib Chilaka saw a header come back off the crossbar but Bradford finally broke the deadlock and the Steelmen hearts with 12 minutes to go when Dylan Mottley-Henry converted a Ben Gordon cross.
Avenue had the ball in the net again through Reece Webb-Foster but Liam Dickinson had already been flagged offside.
It didn’t matter though as the final whistle signalled the end for Corby, who will now prepare for their penultimate away match of the season at Stockport County on Saturday.