Corby Town maintained their pursuit of Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division leaders Poole Town with a routine 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Banbury United at Steel Park.
Goals from Jamie Anton and skipper Cleveland Taylor either side of half-time proved to be more than enough for the Steelmen, who won’t enjoy many afternoons more comfortable than this one.
Banbury looked every inch a team in trouble as they rarely threatened Paul Walker in the home goal until he was beaten by a stoppage-time penalty.
However. Corby didn’t really have to get out of second gear to get the job done.
Tommy Wright brought Shane Byrne and top scorer Spencer Weir-Daley back into the starting line-up following the 1-0 victory over North Leigh in the Red Insure Cup on Wednesday.
Brad-Lee Gascoigne partnered Jamie Anton at the heart of the defence with Herve Pepe-N’Goma dropping to the bench while Claudiu Hoban kept his place in the side.
Ben Milnes was fit enough to take a place amongst the substitutes but Edi Appleton was still missing due to an Achilles injury.
It was a slow start from both teams and Corby weren’t helped by Gascoigne twice having to leave the pitch to treat a cut after a clash of heads.
The defender did head a Greg Mills free-kick wide while Weir-Daley sent a volley over the crossbar.
The closest Banbury came was when Nathaniel Lewars cut in from the right and shot over.
But the Steelmen always looked the more likely and the breakthrough came six minutes before half-time.
Elliott Chamberlain’s shot on the turn after good work from Shane Byrne was saved by Leigh Bedwell and cleared for a corner.
And, from that, Anton was on hand to power home Stephan Morley’s precise delivery.
That was the kickstart the Steelmen needed and they started the second period with more purpose, which resulted in them doubling their advantage five minutes after the restart.
Bedwell mis-controlled Luke Cray’s heavy back-pass and his hurried clearance went straight to Taylor on the edge of the area. And the Steelmen skipper composed himself before placing the ball into the corner.
Weir-Daley was just off target with a decent strike soon after but there were few other chances as the Steelmen cruised home.
Walker did have to tip Hicham Abdellah’s shot over and was then beaten by Jacob Walcott’s penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage-time after substitute N’Goma had brought down Leam Howards.
But the final whistle followed almost immediately as a deserved win for the hosts was confirmed.
With Poole winning at Dunstable, it’s as you were at the summit.
The two sides collide in the first leg of the Red Insure Cup at Steel Park on Wednesday. It should be fascinating.
Steelmen: Walker, Thomas (sub Kennedy, 81 mins), Gascoigne (sub N’Goma, 73 mins), Anton, Morley; Mills (sub Carvalho, 70 mins), Byrne, Taylor, Hoban; Chamberlain, Weir-Daley. Subs not used: Donkin, Milnes.
Banbury: Bedwell; Cray, Fishwick, Ryan, Martin; Abdellah, Tappin, Daffern (sub Browne, 54 mins), Green (sub Walcott, 89 mins); Howards, Lewars (sub Talabi, 60 mins). Subs not used: Weston.
Referee: Mark Howes.
Goals: Anton (39 mins, 1-0), Taylor (50 mins, 2-0), Walcott pen (90 mins, 2-1).