Scott Machin felt Kettering Town got what they deserved as they put one hand on the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central title with a 2-0 victory over Bedford Town.
For a long time it looked like being a frustrating day for the Poppies as they struggled to create any clear openings against a committed Eagles team at Latimer Park.
But central defender Jason Lee fired them into the lead with just five minutes remaining before Elliot Sandy rounded things off in stoppage-time.
The Poppies are now the uncrowned champions as their superior goal difference means Aylesbury won’t catch them.
But the title will be secured if Kettering avoid defeat in tomorrow’s bank holiday derby clash at Rugby Town (3pm).
And joint-boss Machin was delighted to see “something drop” for his players after a battling display for long periods against Bedford.
“It’s a massive win for us,” Machin said.
“In the last three games we have been in a position where we have played against teams who have been more than willing to get a 0-0 draw and frustrate us.
“Bedford came here with a gameplan and they did it very well to be fair to them.
“The difference between this and the other two games was that something dropped for us and Jason Lee put it away.
“There were lots of half chances and near misses but in the second half I thought we dominated the game.
“I thought we got what we deserved but no-one is going to lie down for us and lose the game that hands us the title.”
Machin, meanwhile, praised the contributions of substitutes Andy Gooding, who laid on the goal for Sandy with a quick free-kick, and Dubi Ogbonna as they helped push the Poppies on to what proved to be a crucial success.
“We have guys like Andy Gooding on the bench who have not played a lot,” Machin added.
“He had a time where he couldn’t make a game due to work commitments and we went on a bit of a run and he found himself out of the side.
“But he came on and calmed us down. From the minute he came on I thought we looked secure and for the second goal he was the one who was alert and played Elliot in when everyone else had stopped.
“I am really pleased with the attitude of lads who haven’t necessarily started all the time and the same goes for Dubi.
“That’s what it takes to be successful, to have a group of people who are all prepared to work for each other.”
Don’t miss full coverage of the Poppies’ clash at Rugby on this website tomorrow and reaction and pictures in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph