Gary King’s early penalty secured Corby Town another vital victory as they held on to inflict a ninth successive defeat on Worcester City.
And the win was all-the-more crucial as Colwyn Bay were thrashed 5-1 at home by Chester, meaning Corby now hold a seven-point advantage of the side who sit in the final Blue Square Bet North relegation spot.
Steelmen boss Chris Plummer handed a debut to new signing Medi Abalimba, who came into the side in place of Lewis Webb in the only change from the side that drew 1-1 at Vauxhall Motors.
The hosts came flying out of the blocks and took the lead inside the first three minutes against a Worcester side that had lost their previous eight games and failed to score in their last six.
Nat Wedderburn set off on a driving run down the right and charged into the area where he was pulled back by Danny Edwards, although it looked like the foul started outside the box.
But referee Neil Hair pointed to the spot and King stepped up to beat Matt Sargeant from 12 yards for his second goal in as many games.
The Steelmen looked to turn the screw after that early breakthrough and Josh Moreman found no takers after he sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal while King saw another shot deflected over the crossbar.
From there, it was fairly uneventful in terms of chances. Worcester enjoyed good spells of possession but the only time Paul Walker was really troubled was when he easily saved a shot on the turn from Mike Symons.
At the other end, Moreman dragged a shot wide after sprinting clear from inside his own half and, just before the break, Joseph N’Guessan also went clear sent his effort on target when he might have squared for King.
It was a full 17 minutes before the first chance of the second half arrived when Ryan Semple’s free-kick was tipped over by Sargeant.
But Corby struggled to keep possession and Worcester continued to look the more threatening without creating any clear-cut chances.
Kieron Morris saw an effort deflected just wide while Semple was denied by Sargeant again.
And just seconds later, Walker was forced into his first real save when visiting substitute Michael Taylor raced clear but was denied by the home goalkeeper.
Rob Elvins headed over for the visitors from one of their best openings while Corby substitute Avelino Vieira sent a decent strike just over the bar.
But the Steelmen didn’t need another one as they held on for a crucial victory.
Steelmen: Walker; Crowe, Galinski, Piergianni, Jelleyman; Semple, Abalimba (sub McGowan, 80 mins), Wedderburn, Moreman; N’Guessan (sub Webb, 86 mins), King (sub Vieira, 80 mins). Subs not used: Malone, Kaziboni.
Worcester: Sargeant; Weir, Whitehead, Elvin, Edwards (sub Beardsley, 22 mins); Birley, Breeze, Thorley, Morris (sub Williams, 74 mins); Symons (sub Taylor, 64 mins), Moore. Subs not used: Ayres, Reece.
Referee: Neil Hair.
Goal: King pen (3 mins, 1-0).
Bookings: Jelleyman, Breeze (both fouls).