A solitary goal from Michael Nottingham sunk Brackley Town as Salford City took all three Vanarama National League North points.
City ran out 1-0 winners at St James Park where they maintained their promotion push and, at the same time, dented Town’s play-off bid.
The season’s biggest league attendance at St James Park saw Nottingham’s eighth goal of the campaign separate the two sides in Saturday’s close-fought contest.
Saints started well, James Armson tested Jay Lynch who then tipped over Jordan Hempenstall’s dipping shot.
At the other end, Nottingham’s throw-in found Scott Burton who tried to pick out Mike Phenix but Laurie Walker got there first before Jordan Hulme volleyed over.
Chances continued to come at both ends. Billy Priestley and Lynch combined to thwart Hempenstall after he broke away before Josh Hine had an effort blocked and David Norris was also denied from the rebound.
Lynch’s long clearance found Hine goal-side of the Saints’ defence but the advancing Laurie Walker dealt with his low shot from the edge of the box.
Armson headed straight at Lynch and then fired over from Glenn Walker’s cross. In stoppage-time, Shane Byrne found Glenn Walker but his cross ended with Adam Walker firing over from a good position.
After the restart Lynch superbly denied Armson with David Moyo unable to force home the rebound.
But City found the breakthrough in the 57th minute. A corner from Norris found top scorer Phenix at the far post, his header saw Nottingham head against the bar but he quickly knocked home the rebound.
Saints produced some late pressure but found Lynch and his defenders in no mood to surrender their advantage. In the final minute of stoppage-time Armson broke into the box but was denied by Lynch as City held on for three vital points.