BANBURY United, who looked to have minimal hope of making the Premier Division play-offs a month ago, are now just a whisker away following their fifth successive win.
The Puritans’ stunning 4-0 success at Chesham United – their second victory over the close rivals in four days – means that only goal difference is keeping them out of the fourth play-off position.
Mike Ford’s team are sixth, level on points with Merthyr Town, who lost to leaders Chippenham on Saturday, and five behind fourth-placed Hitchin.
In the only change from the did that defeated Chesham on Tuesday, Ford brought in George Nash for the unavailable Jack Self.
The visitors took the lead in the 24th minute when a free-kick from the left, taken by Tom Winters, was headed home by Ricky Johnson.
Just four minutes later it was 2-0 when Luke Carnell headed in from Winters’s corner, the ball bouncing up to go into the top corner of the net off the woodwork.
It was not until the 40th minute that Chesham finally tested Banbury keeper Jack Harding, who tipped a long-range shot from Sam Youngs around a post.
Early in the second half, the Puritans twice went close to increasing the lead.
Carnell saw his shot deflected just wide from another Winters’ corner.
Then, Chesham defender Curtis Ujah, in attempting to clear Callum White’s cross, sliced the ball on to a post, while the woodwork denied Johnson from the rebound.
They made it 3-0 in the 75th minute when Manny Duku unselfishly passed to Johnson, who scored his second from 12 yards.
Banbury wrapped up the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time when the impressive Duku got the better of Ujah in the middle of the park.
Duke took the ball around Chesham keeper Richard Hayward and into the path of incoming fellow substitute Sam Humphreys, who fired home from ten yards.
Banbury Utd: Harding, White, Bradbury, Martin, Westbrook, Carnell, McEachran (Odhiambo 82), Nash, Johnson, McDonagh (Duku 64), Winters (Humphreys 78). Subs not used: Bell, Browne.