TEN-MAN Moneyfields stretched their lead at the top of the Wessex League premier division as goals from Steve Hutchings and Warren Hunt earned them a 2-1 derby win at AFC Portchester.
Jack Lee was sent off for bringing down Portchester striker Simon Woods.
But the visitors still had enough about them to snatch a late winner and with it the bragging rights after Kev Pottage had cancelled out Hutchings’ opener from the penalty spot.
To their credit, many would argue that Glenn Bridgman’s Portchester deserved a point for their part in what was a hard-fought contest.
And had they taken just a few of the many chances created, the final result could easily have favoured them.
But they didn’t and neither really did the visitors, who threatened to run riot with several fast-flowing moves, only for their tame finishing to let them down, too.
As a result, it wasn’t until Hunt came off the substitutes’ bench late on that Miles Rutherford’s side grabbed the initiative.
His free-kick stunned the home supporters and set Moneys up for a vital away win.
Hutchings had a chance late on to add to his 40th-minute opener and give the hard-earned triumph an extra gloss.
But after setting off on a run that took him clear of the Portchester defence and around the home side’s keeper Jason Plomer, he somehow managed to shoot wide of an empty net.
‘I thought we deserved to get a point as we were the better side in the second half and created as many chances as they did,’ said Bridgman.
‘It may seem strange but we could have gone on to win if they hadn’t had a player sent off.
‘But once down to 10 men, they made it even more difficult to break them down.
‘The thing to do now is put the result behind us and move on.’
Rutherford said: ‘Again, it wasn’t a very good team performance on our part and I will be asking a couple of our players about giving what I consider to be less than they are capable of.
‘Team performances mean everything to me if we are to stay at the top.
‘It’s a fact that every other team will want to beat us so I will be looking for everyone to give me far more effort.
‘I fully accept that to take another three points should have made it a happy weekend for us all.
‘But we haven’t yet played the other top teams in this league, so the test of what we are all about is yet to come.’