A scrappy derby was settled by a single goal as Uppingham moved into fifth in the league by defeating neighbours Oakham.
Town still have games in hand on those above them in the ChromaSport Peterborough League Premier Division but boss Richard Kendrick knows that guarantees nothing.
“This was three points in the bag,” he said, “that’s what mattered.
“It wasn’t a good game really, for either side. The windy conditions spoiled it.”
With both teams missing key players, it was the home side who kept the ball early on, without really threatening.
The deadlock was broken by the visitors just before half-time when Callum O’Berg took a free kick near the touchline and floated it right across goal.
Martin Turiccki met it at the far post and headed it goalwards. It was going in but Dave Laughton claimed the final touch.
“We went in at 1-0 and that gave us the edge,” said Kendrick. In the second half Rob Forster missed two good chances which would have made it comfortable but Oakham never gave up and are a better side than their league position suggests.
“If we can now get through the holiday period without losing too much ground while we’re under-strength, hopefully we can finish the season as we started,” he said.
Uppingham’s next three games are away, at Peterborough ICA on Saturday, Whittlesey Blue Star a week later and Whittlesey United in the Senior Cup on January 4.
The 1-0 loss to Uppingham leaves Oakham fourth from bottom, also facing three away matches. They travel to Leverington on Saturday before two ‘six-pointers’ against bottom side Parson Drove a week later and second-from-bottom Whittlesey Blue Star on January 4.
Boss Wayne Oldacre said: “It was my first taste of a Rutland derby and I hadn’t realised how much tension there is between the clubs.
“We kept the ball for long periods but we were lacking in the final third.
“Leverington will be a proper test and I’ll be very happy if we can get seven points from the next three games.”
Oakham: Nathan Arkle (Craig Welbourn), Tom Bain, Daniel Barker, Andrew Buckle, Harry Calver, Robbie Dance, Ben Eason, Stuart Lambie, Edward McDonald, Robert Pearce, Chris Steele. Subs not used Ashley Clipston, Thomas Gregg, Odijie Oboh.
Uppingham: Martin Bennett, Elliott Bentley, James Binley, Mark Dimeeh, Rob Forster, David Laughton, Jacob Norton, Callum O’Berg, Will Thomas, Martin Turiccki, Stephen Wallhead (Robert Montgomery). Subs not used Jack Henshaw, Dylan Oliver.