Belper Town won their first league fixture at Lincoln United since February 2012 to move within five points of top spot with plenty of games in hand over their rivals.
Despite Phil Watt and Kyle Bryant being unavailable to start, the Nailers demonstrated what it takes to establish themselves as genuine promotion candidates.
Danny Gordon came in at right back while Riece Bertram continued to partner Danny South in the back four; Sam Wright, George Milner and Charlie Dawes retained their places in the starting 11.
Belper looked to gain the initiative straight from the whistle but were nearly caught out by a swift break from the hosts and were grateful when Danny North failed to capitalise on a difficult opportunity.
The Nailers learned their lesson and, despite the Whites direct approach and the searching clearances from their keeper Tom Nicholson, they restricted Lincoln to single figure opportunities.
Alex Peterson almost sent Nathan Curtis away in the fifth minute but the ball hit Curtis on the back, which impeded his progress towards goal.
A better opportunity fell to Derry Robson minutes later after Danny South picked him out in an unmarked position, but Robson couldn’t find accuracy with the header.
Whites skipper Matt Wilson hauled down Danny South in the penalty area on 11 minutes and the referee awarded a spot kick. With regular penalty taker Craig Nelthorpe now playing his football elsewhere Charlie Dawes accepted the responsibility, and unfortunately his penalty kick came back off the foot of the upright.
Danny South was a whisker away from scoring with a stooping header from a Danny Gordon corner on 22 minutes.
The second period started well for Belper and Peterson was instrumental in creating an excellent chance for Derry Robson, whose shot from 18 yards went wide of the target.
The game sparked into life in the 48th minute when Nathan Curtis scored a super goal after swerving past three defenders and striking a low drive beyond the reach of the keeper.
Belper nearly scored again but Charlie Dawes’ low strike from just inside the area ricocheted off the keeper and back off a defender to rest in Tom Nicholson’s hands.
Then Derry Robson struck his shot too close to Nicholson.
Steve Ridley’s introduction as a substitute led to the decisive goal in the 83rd minute. He had already delivered a corner kick that Lincoln struggled to clear, and when the ball was returned to him, he picked out Alex Peterson at the far post for the striker to add to his recent goalscoring by nodding the ball over the line.