AFC Rushden & Diamonds came through a big test of character as they maintained their three-point lead at the top of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.
Diamonds finished their clash at Wisbech Town with only eight men after Richard Bunting, Sam Brown and Russ Dunkley were all sent off on a controversial afternoon.
But Andy Peaks’ men still held on for a 3-1 success as they wrapped up their 12th win from 14 matches so far this season.
Bunting’s fired them in front from a free-kick before Dunkley made it 2-0 when his set-piece hit the post but rebounded off home goalkeeper Lea Jordan and into the net.
Bunting was dismissed before half-time but Diamonds gave themselves breathing space when Fazel Koriya made it 3-0 four minutes into the second period.
However, Brown was then sent off and Josh Ford pulled a goal back from the resulting free-kick.
But, despite having Dunkley red-carded for a second bookable offence, Diamonds saw the game out to tighten their grip on top spot.
Desborough Town fought back from an awful start as they enjoyed a fine 4-3 victory at Oadby Town on Friday night.
Ar Tarn fell behind to Ollie Brown-Hill’s early brace but responded with two quickfire goals as Mark Redding and Michael Byrne made it 2-2 with just 21 minutes on the clock.
Oadby regained the lead through Ife Ogunbayo before half-time but Byrne grabbed his second to level the scores once again.
And Jake Bettles won it with seven minutes to go after being set up by Will Arnold.
It proved to be a bad day for Wellingborough Town as they suffered a 1-0 home defeat to strugglers Harborough Town, who claimed their first win in eight matches while also completing the double over the Doughboys.
The only goal of the game was scored by Oli Magee with just six minutes left on the clock.
Whitworth maintained their challenge at the top end of Division One as two late goals sealed a 2-0 victory over local rivals Raunds Town.
Remy Brittain put the Flourmen in front on 76 minutes before Ryan Baxter’s penalty wrapped up Whitworth’s fifth win in a row to leave the Shopmates without a victory in six.
Rothwell Corinthians’ impressive recent form continued as they ended Olney Town’s winning run with a 3-2 away success.
Aaron Watts’ double put the visitors in control at the break and the game looked all over when Andy White made it 3-0 in the second half.
Sam O’Neill scored a penalty and Tom Van Den Burgh added another for Olney but Corinthians held on.
Burton Park Wanderers grabbed a dramatic late equaliser as they shared a 2-2 draw with local rivals Rushden & Higham at Hayden Road.
Wayne Brown’s penalty gave Wanderers a 1-0 lead at the break but Daryl Lawman equalised and Jory Mann looked to have won it when he struck in the 89th minute.
However, the visitors had other ideas and youngster Cory Tailby secured a point in the third minute of stoppage-time.
There are few signs of things improving for Stewarts & Lloyds as they crashed to their 16th defeat in as many matches when going down 7-1 at ON Chenecks.
Julian Bicknell was on target for the Foundrymen to make the score 2-1 at one stage but Chenecks ran away with it thanks to goals from Calvin Budd (2), Adam Hancock (2), Ben Lewington, Joe Lewington and Montel Dore.