Two excellent first-half goals helped Corby Town move into second place in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division as they beat Biggleswade Town 2-0 at Steel Park.
With Paul Malone watching on from the stands a week on from his horrific injury, a fourth home win in a row was never really in doubt once the in-form Spencer Weir-Daley and Ben Milnes had put the Steelmen in control late in the opening period.
That two-goal burst proved to be enough as the Steelmen saw the remainder of the game out, although it wasn’t without a scare or two as Biggleswade had their moments with Paul Walker being forced to more than play his part with a number of excellent saves.
But in the end, Corby got the job done and another victory ensured they applied a bit more pressure on leaders Poole Town by moving to within a point of them.
Tommy Wright was forced into one change from the team that beat Frome at the weekend.
Stephan Morley was ruled out with a dead leg, which meant a recall for Kalern Thomas at left-back.
It was a slow start with neither side really creating any chances of note.
But the game burst into life just before the quarter-hour when Biggleswade went close to breaking the deadlock.
David Hutton whipped the ball in from the left and Josh Beech got a flick on it to force Paul Walker into a good, low save.
The Steelmen goalkeeper was called into action again just a couple of minutes later when Jay Davies released Craig Daniel down the right but Walker was equal to his shot from a tight angle.
Corby finally came alive and they were out of luck when Weir-Daley was left with a clear sight of goal but he hit the post instead of the net.
The influential Milnes fizzed an effort just off target but the Steelmen did break the deadlock nine minutes before the break.
A neat passing move ended with Weir-Daley finding a bit of space just inside the area. And the in-form frontman made no mistake with a precise finish into the bottom corner.
That was clearly the spark the hosts needed. Weir-Daley almost doubled the lead when he was clean through on goal. Ian Brown blocked his first attempt, the striker won it back but could only fire wide.
It didn’t matter though as Corby’s second goal arrived 60 seconds later and it was a thing of beauty.
Wilson Carvalho lofted a ball into the right channel of the penalty area and Milne was there to coolly lob Brown from a narrow angle.
Thomas was forced to hack clear Davies’ shot, which looked like it was going off target, before the break and Biggleswade started the second period brightly with Walker having to push away a decent strike from Beech after he had out-muscled Herve Pepe-N’Goma.
The Steelmen were steady without being spectacular for long spells after the break and Shane Byrne saw a crisp, low drive held by Brown.
Biggleswade continued to pose a threat at the other end as the Steelmen became more ragged as the game went on.
And Walker made his best stop of the night with a brilliant reaction save deny substitute Kelvin Bossman after he headed goal-wards after the ball had initially cannoned off the angle of post and bar.
But that was the final nervous moment as the Steelmen completed another home success.
These two teams will do it all again in Biggleswade on Saturday and Corby will be hoping their march at the top continues.
Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy, N’Goma, Appleton, Thomas; Byrne, Taylor; Mills, Milnes (sub Hartley, 80 mins), Carvalho (sub Hoban, 69 mins); Weir-Daley (sub Chamberlain, 63 mins). Subs not used: Donkin, Wright.
Biggleswade: Brown; Roberts, Mawer, Hoyte (sub Ford, 77 mins), Coulson; Daniel, Allinson, Thorne (sub Bossman, 63 mins), Hutton; Davies; Beech. Subs not used: McNulty, Gentle, Bamford.
Referee: Ian Smedley.
Goals: Weir-Daley (36 mins, 1-0), Milnes (40 mins, 2-0).
Bookings: Kennedy (kicking ball away), Hoyte, Davies, Thomas, Byrne (all fouls).