Kettering Town’s Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off hopes suffered another big blow as they suffered a second defeat in a row as 10-man Hungerford Town claimed a 2-1 home success.
The Poppies, who included Craig Hill in goal in place of the injured Paul Walker, had the first shot of the game with Herve Pepe-N’Goma’s effort going over while Liam Canavan shot into the side-netting.
But it was the hosts who got on top as the half progressed and, after Stefan Brown had fired over, they took the lead six minutes before half-time.
Rhys Tyler’s run ended with a cross that found Nat Jarvis and he slotted home.
Kettering were given a boost four minutes into the second half when home defender Gary Horgan was shown a straight red card after a foul on Wilson Carvalho.
And the Poppies took advantage as they equalised on 63 minutes when a good move ended with Pepe-N’Goma’s cross being headed in at the far post by Liam Canavan.
The joy was short lived, however, as the 10-man hosts regained the lead six minutes later when a Kettering player was penalised for handball following a long throw and Brown scored into the corner from 12 yards despite Hill getting his fingertips to it.
Chris Carruthers cleared a shot off the line to prevent a third and Kettering created chances themselves with substitute Courtney Baker-Richardson shooting just past the shot before he missed another chance with a tame volley.
The Poppies pushed hard late on with Wilson Carvalho sending a free-kick over while Canavan headed off target.
And then, in a dramatic finish, Dom Langdon hit the outside of the post before Canavan headed wide again.
But the chances wouldn’t go in and the Poppies were left to reflect on a second successive defeat.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds suffered their worst defeat of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central season so far as they were thumped 4-0 at Beaconsfield SYCOB.
On an afternoon to forget, the only crumb of comfort for Andy Peaks’ men was that second-placed Chalfont St Peter were beaten 3-0 by Northwood, meaning Diamonds maintained their two-point lead at the top of the table.
Beaconsfield started the better and, after a couple of early openings, they took the lead on five minutes when Lee Togwell headed home a corner.
Diamonds tried to find a way back into things but Jon Stevenson could only shoot weakly at Sam Bunting while no decision was forthcoming when Tom Lorraine appeared to be pulled back as he went through on goal.
It needed a couple of fine saves from Matt Finlay to keep the visitors in it at the break.
But the home side doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half when a poor corner headed for the near post and it ended in the net after Richard Bunting took a swing at it.
It only got worse for Diamonds as they found themselves 3-0 down before the hour mark when Togwell’s cross was finished off by Callum Bunting.
And a miserable afternoon turned into a nightmare when Sam Deadfield fired into the top corner from 25 yards to seal the game for the hosts.