Kettering Town had to endure a nervy finish as they kept up their challenge at top end of the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central with a 2-1 success at rock-bottom Bedworth United.
Marcus Law named an unchanged starting line-up following the 5-0 home success over Hitchin Town and the Poppies couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Just four minutes were on the clock when Adam Cunnington grabbed his first goal since returning to the club as his fine header from a Rhys Hoenes cross found the back of the net.
But Bedworth came back into it during the opening period and they went close with a deflected effort while Paul White had to make a fine save before the break to keep his team in front.
Lindon Meikle saw an effort tipped over by Adam Harrison early in the second half and Harrison was called into action again as he saved from Dan Holman before Cunnington headed another chance over the bar.
But the Poppies did double their advantage just before the hour when Michael Richens played in Hoenes and he chipped Harrison to find the bottom corner.
Holman forced Harrison into another save from 25 yards soon after but Bedworth continued to pose a threat and White was forced into another stop as he tipped another shot round the post.
The game looked to be petering out but Bedworth pulled one back with three minutes of normal time to go when a fine volley left White helpless.
The hosts then went close to soon after as a free-kick was sent just over the crossbar and they had the ball in the net as the game moved into stoppage-time but the Poppies were saved by an offside flag.
However, Kettering did manage to see the game through to maintain their challenge at the top.
They return to action on Saturday when they face a tough test at King’s Lynn Town in their final game of the calendar year.