Corby Town’s Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow as their 10-match unbeaten run came to an end in a 1-0 defeat at Paulton Rovers.
The Steelmen looked to be heading for at least a goalless draw before Kalern Thomas was sent off and the hosts made it four wins in a row by snatching all three points with a late penalty.
With leaders Poole Town having their game postponed and Weymouth beating Histon, it proved to be a bad day as far as Corby’s title hopes are concerned.
Tommy Wright was forced into changes with Edi Appleton unavailable and Jamie Anton missing out through illness.
It meant a debut for new signing Herve Pepe-N’goma, who joined on a youth loan from Leicester City during the week while Kalern Thomas was recalled to the starting line-up along with Spencer Weir-Daley.
As expected, the conditions were tricky due to the recent weather as the pitch cut up and while both sides had their chances, neither was able to make a breakthrough in the first period.
The Steelmen did have the ball in the net after the break when Weir-Daley’s effort was ruled out for offside.
But the turning point came with 13 minutes to go when Thomas saw red for a foul that resulted in the hosts being awarded a penalty.
And Scott Wilson stepped up to beat Paul Walker from 12 yards.
The Steelmen were unable to find a way back into it after that as their unbeaten run was ended.
Steelmen: Walker, Kennedy, Thomas, Malone, Pepe-Ngoma (sub Hartley), Byrne, Milnes (sub Wright), Taylor, Chamberlain, Weir-Daley (sub Mills), Carvalho. Subs not used: Donkin, Morgan.
Goal: Wilson pen (77 mins, 1-0).