AFC Rushden & Diamonds blew the race for the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division title wide open as they ended Spalding United’s record-breaking start with a superb 2-1 success.
Mark Starmer’s men headed to Lincolnshire knowing a defeat would see them drop 13 points behind the leaders. Instead they returned with the gap being cut to just seven.
The key moment of the game came on 17 minutes when Russ Dunkley was tripped by Nathan Stainfield. The home defender was sent off and Matt Gearing stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.
Diamonds went on to dominate the remainder of the first half and they doubled their advantage two minutes before the break when Dunkley found Richard Bunting, who evaded a couple of challenges before slotting home.
Despite being down to 10 men, the Tulips put up a good fight in the second period and Andy Tidswell was out of luck when his volley clipped the post.
Jamie Stevens did pull a goal back late on but it was not enough as Diamonds moved up to third in the table.
It was also a very good day for Wellingborough Town as they thrashed Long Buckby 6-0 at the Dog & Duck.
Jack Wisniewski set up the first two goals with Nat Liburd and Jason Turner on target and the prolific Turner made it 3-0 from the penalty spot on the half-hour.
The Doughboys continued their dominance after the break with Dan Burke on target to make it four before Wisniewski grabbed a deserved goal.
And it was Rob Parker who rounded off a fantastic day for Craig Adams’ side on 78 minutes.
Desborough Town went down 3-1 at high-flying Cogenhoe United, despite being in the contest for a long time.
Josh Urquhart put the Cooks in front but Shaun Goodall ensured Ar Tarn went in level at half-time.
But Tom Liversedge grabbed the home side’s second on 68 minutes and Jack Bowen added the third eight minutes later to settle the contest.
It was another tough day for struggling Stewarts & Lloyds as they were beaten 6-1 by Wisbech Town at Occupation Road.
The visitors were 3-0 at the break thanks to Danny White, Tom James and Adam Millson before Richard Moore cut the deficit eight minutes into the second half.
But James made it 4-1, Tony Battersby hit Wisbech’s fifth and James rounded it off as he completed his hat-trick.
Burton Park Wanderers picked up one of the results of the Division One season so far as they sealed a superb 1-0 success at second-placed Eynesbury Rovers.
A 23rd-minute Rob Ducket own-goal was enough for Joe Smyth’s men as they inflicted only a third defeat of the campaign on the high-flying hosts.
Whitworth’s recent good form continued with a 2-1 victory over local rivals Rothwell Corinthians at Seargents Lawn.
All the goals came in the last 25 minutes with Remy Brittain giving the Flourmen the lead before Ryan Goodband levelled soon after.
But Whitworth claimed the points in the fourth minute of stoppage-time thanks to Matt Hibberd.
Ryan Lovell was the hero for Irchester United as they completed a double over Peterborough Sports with a 2-1 win.
Lovell put the Romans in front before Isaac Jagroop equalised for the hosts. But Lovell’s second of the game on the half-hour mark proved decisive.
It was a disappointing day for Rushden & Higham as they went down 4-1 at home to high-fliers Harrowby United.
Martin Wormall’s penalty had the visitors in front but the Lankies equalised through Tyler Merries and they had the chance to take the lead from the spot but it was saved by Jack Drury.
From there, Harrowby went on to clinch the victory thanks Luke Peberdy, Lee Shaw and a second penalty from Wormall.
It was also a day to forget for Thrapston Town as they suffered a third successive defeat under Richard Scott when going down 6-1 at home to Olney.
Deanio Bailey-Browne’s double put the hosts in control at half-time while James Wardell and Lyle Orange made it 4-0 early in the second half.
Cory James pulled a goal back but Bailey-Browne completed his hat-trick and Darryl Smith rounded things off for the visitors.