A devastating second-half display, capped by a David Kolodynski hat-trick, ensured Kettering Town finished their home campaign for 2014 with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Royston Town.
The table-topping Poppies marked the halfway point of their Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central season by picking up their 20th home league win of the calendar year at Latimer Park.
But while another victory was secured, the final score didn’t quite tell the full story as Royston shot themselves in the foot with a needless red card during a first half in which they were probably the better side.
Kettering are an unforgiving bunch these days. And once Andy Hall and Elliot Sandy had put them 2-0 up with two stunning strikes, they didn’t look back.
And it was fitting that the afternoon eventually belonged to Kolodynski who hit a 23-minute hat-trick to get his Poppies career up and running.
Joint-bosses Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin made two changes from the team that won 1-0 at Hanwell Town with Hall coming in for the unavailable Claudiu Hoban while Andy Gooding was also restored to the starting line-up with Dubi Ogbonna dropping to the bench.
Gooding started on the right wing and, although the Poppies began brightly enough, it was the visitors who settled the better with Richard Knight being forced into the first save of the game from Kaan Fehmi’s long-range effort.
Kettering responded with skipper Steve Kinniburgh playing in Sandy who stung the palms of visiting goalkeeper Ron Yates who tipped the shot over the bar.
Sandy also brought a sharp near-post save out of Yates but the Poppies struggled to find any rhythm as they conceded possession too easily, albeit on a tough surface,
Royston looked a threat going forward and Kinniburgh intervened with a good defensive header to deny Scott Bridges, whose sweetly-struck volley looked to be heading for goal.
But it was Scott Bridges who was involved in the key incident three minutes before the break.
He was jostling with Lee in the penalty area but with Knight collecting the loose ball, the Royston midfielder ridiculously kicked out at the Poppies defender and, after consulting with his assistant, referee Matthew Smith rightly showed the red card.
That gave Kettering, who struggled in that opening period, 45 minutes at 10 men. And they wasted little time in taking advantage.
Just six minutes after the restart, Kinniburgh sent in a cross from the left. It was headed to the edge of the area where Hall was waiting and his technique was near-perfect as his volley found the bottom corner.
If that was good, things got even better just four minutes later. Kolodynski chased a hopeful through-ball but Yates raced from his goal to clear.
However, his kick only found Sandy and he took a touch before brilliantly finding the empty net from fully 40 yards.
That put the Poppies in total control but they weren’t about to stop there as it quickly became the Kolodynski show.
His first for the club was scrappy, not that he would have been bothered. A cross came over from the left, Sandy nodded it back and Kolodynski was there to finish things after substitute Ogbonna couldn’t get a proper connection on his shot.
And just six minutes later, Kolodynski had his second. Gooding took aim from the edge of the area, Yates could only parry it and the frontman was there in a flash to pick up the pieces to make it 4-0.
Ogbonna was denied by Yates and Sandy saw another effort deflected just wide but it was 5-0 in stoppage-time as Sandy was bundled over in the area.
The ball was handed to Kolodynski and he made no mistake to complete his treble and placed the cherry on top of a very tasty cake.
Royston, a team fancied to be title contenders, were buried and the Poppies simply march on.
Half of the season is gone, 51 points are on the board. It would take a brave man to bet against them from going all the way this time around...
Poppies: Knight; Clifton, Solkhon, Lee, Kinniburgh (sub Bukasa, 76 mins); Gooding, Jepson (sub Watts, 81 mins), Hull, Hall (sub Ogbonna, 64 mins); Sandy, Kolodynski. Subs not used: McAlindon, Robinson.
Royston: Yates; Wharton (sub Mentis, 60 mins), Theobald, McDevitt, Bradshaw; Stuart Bridges; Scott Bridges, Fehmi, Watters; Ingrey (sub Hart, 69 mins), Dobson (sub Collins, 69 mins). Subs not used: Nightingale, Lockett.
Referee: Matthew Smith.
Goals: Hall (51 mins, 1-0), Sandy (54 mins, 2-0), Kolodynski (67 mins, 3-0), Kolodynski (73 mins, 4-0), Kolodynski pen (90 mins, 5-0).
Bookings: Fehmi, Bradshaw, Kinniburgh (all fouls).
Sending-off: Scott Bridges (violent conduct).