Melton Town started a pivotal month with a good three points against a stubborn Burton Park side without having to get into top gear.
With tougher tests to come in November, Town knew the importance of starting well as they face five matches in a month which should see the Division One promotion contenders move away from the rest of the pack.
With three of November’s opponents in the top six, Tom Manship has set his side a challlenging target of 15 points from 15, but they began well at Kettering against in-form mid-table Wanderers.
Town engineered the game’s first real attack as Reeve powered a header which whacked the crossbar and away to safety.
The hosts had their first and best chance of the half when McMichael’s 35-yard shot needed the fingertips of Town keeper Peet to keep it out.
Sam Thorpe nearly opened the scoring after 15 minutes, but struggled to get the ball out from under his feet when well-placed and the eventual shot was cleared off the line.
Town debutant Jordan Lever caused problems down the right, and sent a powerful shot which hit the foot of the post.
The rebound found Thorpe whose shot appeared to hit an arm, and to the surprise of everyone in the ground, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Reeve took the responsibility, but sent his spot-kick over the bar.
Melton continued to control the game, especially through the midfield where Hill, Baker and Manship worked well together.
Midway through the first half Reeve made up for his penalty miss when he brought down Hill’s great cross, turned and slotted past the helpless keeper.
Reeve nearly doubled the lead when he combined with Baker through the middle and his turn and shot was touched round the post by Patchings.
Right on half-time, the hosts reminded Melton the game was far from over when Campbell was given a free header in the six-yard box, but he failed to punish the visitors.
The first chance of the second half fell to Reeve when he was played through and he outmuscled Bird, but Patchings was again at full stretch to save.
But Town finally doubled the lead midway through the second half when Cresswell’s cross was chested down by Reeve who played in Thorpe to turn and hit a half-volley past the keeper.
Park responded well and halved the deficit when a corner found Bell on the edge of the area and his shot evaded the defence and found the corner of the net.
But the contest was put to bed with 12 minutes left when Baker found Josh Hill who tried his luck from 25 yards with a powerful shot which nestled into the bottom corner of the net.
Manship’s side controlled the game, pinning the hosts in their own half, and the frustration spilled over when Durae was booked for a bad challenge and repeated the dose a minute later and was sent off.
Melton host in-form Harrowby United on Saturday in what should be a tasty local derby at Signright Park, and then head to Rushden and Higham United on Wednesday.
Town: Peet, Westwood, Rigby, Manship (Hibbitt), Punter, Wilson, Baker, Hill, Reeve, Lever, Thorpe (Reek).