Easington Sports took a huge step towards the UHLSport Hellenic League title and promotion.
A solitary first half penalty from Callum Convey saw Sports beat rivals Cheltenham Saracens 1-0 in Saturday’s Division One West clash at Addison Road where both sides finished the game with ten men.
But it was Saracens who suffered most after having striker Sean McKeon sent off for a challenge on Josh Rose after only five minutes which left them with an uphill task for the remainder of the top-of-the-table clash.
The only goal arrived when Matt Barnard was adjudged to have brought down Owen James in the box and Convey converted the ensuing spot-kick.
Both sides had chances in a scrappy first half, Harlie Price shot wide while Convey could only shoot straight at keeper Charlee Cook, Henry Rose headed wide from a good position and Joe Coleman struck the bar.
After the restart, Joe Eyre’s effort also came back off the bar and Charlie Hill could only put the rebound wide while Cook saved well from Henry Rose. In between, the impressive Price beat three players before Joe White managed to block his shot.
Sports needed the crucial second goal but lacked the cutting edge in the final third against a well-marshalled defence in which Mike Oliver was outstanding. Their best move saw James and Convey combine to release Eyre but his shot just went past the far post.
Henry Rose got a second caution late on but Sports were never seriously threatened as they picked up three vital points to move clear of the chasing pack.