Deeping Rangers and Holbeach United made major moves in the race for the United Counties Premier Division title race.
Deeping moved upto second after scoring twice in the final five minutes to pip Desborough 2-1 at the Haydon Whitam Stadium, while Holbeach delivered an impressive turnaround in form to win 2-0 at Yaxley.
Deeping’s unbeaten home record was under threat after they conceded an early goal, Michael Goode’s men clawed themselves level in the 84th minute when full-back Tom Smith equalised. Captain David Burton-Jones then struck a last-gasp winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Deeping are two points behind leaders Newport Pagnell with a game in hand. Holbeach a point further back in third, but have a game in hand over Deeping.
Seb Hayes’ side delivered a vintage defensive display to triumph 2-0 against fellow title-chasers Yaxley at In2itive Park – a fine effort considering they were blitzed 3-0 by the same opponents only three weeks earlier in a KO Cup semi-final.
It was a very different story on this occasion as George Zuerner headed the Tigers into an 18th minute lead after being picked out by a peach of a Danny Brooks corner.
And they sealed victory with nine minutes to go when Joe Smith finished coolly after Cuckoos goalkeeper Ollie Sutton pushed a low Lewis Leckie cross into his path.
Hosts Yaxley had plenty of possession, but they carved out few clear-cut opportunities in all truth. The best of them was dragged wide by Dan Cotton midway through the second half as they fell to a first league loss under manager Andy Furnell in the 12th Premier Division outing of his reign.
Winning boss Hayes said: “I would have been an idiot not to learn from the way we got battered by Yaxley in the cup.
“We knew we couldn’t afford another performance or result like that, and we set out to keep our shape while working harder than Yaxley.
“The boys carried out the gameplan absolutely superbly. We’re always confident when we go ahead as more often than not we go on to win the football match, and last night was another example of that.
“We might not play a way that everyone likes, but we’re in a results business and I don’t think too many people would have expected it after what happened in the cup game.
“But we’ve beaten one of our rivals for the title, we’ve done the double over them in the league, and now we’ve got to push on.”
But they will have to maintain their title push without their manager. Hayes begins a five-match stadium ban this Saturday - when Holbeach entertain Harborough – following an incident during a Boxing Day defeat at Wisbech Town.