Tommy Wright hailed a “massive three points” as Corby Town claimed a 2-1 success at Frome Town.
The manager came off the bench to hit the winner with five minutes left on the clock in Somerset after Greg Mills’ first-half penalty had been cancelled out by Aaron Rodriguez’s goal after the break.
Wright’s strike got his team back to winning ways and it proved crucial as Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division leaders Poole Town were beaten at Hitchin Town.
The Steelmen remain in third place on goal difference but are now just three points behind the table-toppers, albeit from four games more.
Corby head to bottom side Banbury United on Tuesday night before a 10-day break, which is followed by a clash with Poole at Steel Park in the final game before Christmas.
And Wright said: “The gap has been closed and we play Poole in two weeks so that’s going to be a massive game.
“We have probably made it a bit harder for ourselves and you do wonder what position we would be in if we hadn’t dropped those points at Dorchester and against Bideford.
“But that’s in the past. We turned it around with a good performance against Redditch and we have followed it up.
“It’s simple at the moment, these games are must win for us and it will be the same on Tuesday night.
“There will be a lot of teams that will go to Frome and not pick up points.
“There are no easy games in this division and I will say it again - if you don’t turn up and play the way you can then you will slip up.
“We started well and we scored a bit later than we would have liked.
“But as soon as they scored, it was a different game. And the way it happened was frustrating because their goalkeeper has made a great save from Spencer Weir-Daley and three passes later we have conceded.
“But we battled back and we have picked up a massive three points.”
Wright, meanwhile, was delighted to hit the winner himself, although he admitted he needed some prompting from his assistant Dave Clarke before finally entering the fray.
“Dave was getting into me on the bench and telling me to go on,” Wright said.
“We left it late and in some games it is going to work, fortunately for us it paid off this time.
“I am an option on the bench, otherwise I wouldn’t be on there. It’s up to me to go on and make a difference and it’s worked this time.”