BANBURY United beat AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 to make it three wins in a row and close in on the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central play-off places.

Both sides created opportunities without having a golden chance in an even first half an hour, but a fantastic diving header from Ricky Johnson broke the deadlock in the 31st minute.

The home side gained confidence from going ahead and doubled the lead eight minutes later, Ravi Shamsi picking out the top corner from the edge of the box.

Banbury’s hopes were boosted by a red card to Nabil Shariff in first-half stoppage time, but the visitors were the better side after the restart.

They looked to have found a way back into the game when they won a penalty with 12 minutes left, but Jack Harding saved brilliantly.

Joel Gyasi gave Rushden hope when he rounded the Banbury goalkeeper and scored five minutes from time, but Mike Ford’s men held on to cut the gap to the top five to a single point.

In Division 1 Central, North Leigh claimed an excellent 1-0 win at promotion-chasing Welwyn Garden City.

Henry Landers put the Millers in front midway through the first half, before the crossbar denied new signing Elliott Osborne-Ricketts a stunning debut goal from 30 yards out.

It proved academic for Craig Dore’s side, who are five points off the top five with two games in hand.

Kidlington also impressed, winning 3-0 at AFC Dunstable.

Jacob Davidge and Steve Robertson put the visitors in charge within the first 25 minutes.

Davidge added a third 16 minutes from time to crown an excellent away display.

It was a less enjoyable afternoon for Wantage Town, who were thrashed 8-1 at third-placed Corby Town.

Stephen Diggin and Charlie Wise put the hosts 2-0 up, but Sidney Ibie halved the deficit eight minutes before the break.

Wise and Jordan Crawford made it 4-1 either side of half-time, before Diggin grabbed another.

Caleb Chukwuemka made it 6-1, before Diggin scored his third and fourth goals of the afternoon.

Didcot Town suffered late heartbreak with a 2-1 defeat at Biggleswade.

Ollie Thomas put the Railwaymen ahead in the 44th minute, only for their opponents to equalise seconds later.

It looked like Didcot would escape with a draw, until the hosts won a penalty in the 87th minute.

Leigh Bedwell saved the spot-kick, but could do nothing about the rebound.

Dan West put Thame United 1-0 up at Barton Rovers, but they fell to a 2-1 defeat.